• Minnis: Highway from airport to cure traffic ‘disaster’
• Study: ‘Programme’ upgrade for Windsor Field Road
• Calls for new and expanded roundabouts on corridor
By NEIL HARTNELL
Tribune Business Editor
A former prime minister yesterday backed research calling for a four-lane highway to be constructed between the airport and Old Fort Bay to ease escalating traffic congestion in western New Providence.
Dr Hubert Minnis, who is also the area’s MP, branded traffic flows during peak travel hours as “a disaster” while revealing to Tribune Business that his administration had been assessing Windsor Field Road’s expansion from two lanes to a dual carriageway in both directions between Lynden Pindling International Airport and (LPIA) “all the way to Lyford Cay”.
Speaking after a traffic impact study conducted for the proposed $200m Venetian Village project (see other article on Page 1B) called on the Government to develop such a four-lane highway, Dr Minnis said the growing population and business migration to western New Providence meant vehicle flows are a key factor for the planning authorities when deciding whether to approve any developments.
“The current traffic is very, very bad,” he told this newspaper. “Even when they were doing that project, Adelaide Pines, I mentioned that would have an impact on us and they have to do studies on it. When we were in government, we were looking to extend that four-lane highway from the airport. We thought that should go directly up to Lyford Cay, and not just Old Fort Bay. Because of the traffic in the west we were looking at that. That was as far as we got.
“I support the four lanes. We were looking at four lanes coming from the airport west, and four lanes for Gladstone Road. The third major one we had was Village Road. We had discussed extensively the four lanes straight from the airport to Lyford Cay.” The Davis administration, showing government is continuous, has already followed through with the Village Road improvement project and is poised to do the same with the $29m Gladstone Road upgrade.
It is unclear, though, whether and when it may do the same with Windsor Field Road, which is the key artery serving western New Providence. The area’s rapid development, via the Old Fort Bay Town Centre plus communities such as Charlotteville, Turnberry, Lyford Hills and Serenity, has left the existing two-lane infrastructure struggling to cope with increased traffic flows and vehicle volumes at peak morning and evening travel hours.
“In the morning it’s a disaster, and in the afternoon coming from the direction of Old Fort Bay east is a disaster,” Dr Minnis told this newspaper. “At present, it’s having a great impact on the community. It’s very slow moving travelling west, especially in the morning, and is difficult for my constituents coming from Tropical Gardens.
“From Tropical Gardens Road, it’s very difficult getting on to [Windsor Field Road] because of the traffic coming from the west. A lot of traffic coming from West Bay Street goes through Tropical Gardens Road and Blake Road to enter Windsor Field Road.”
The traffic impact study, conducted by Caribbean Civil Group in 2019 for Sebas Bastian’s Brickell Management Group, developer of the Venetian Village expansion, called for the Ministry of Works “to programme” Windsor Field Road for expansion into a four-lane highway within the next two decades to enable it to cope with ever-growing traffic volumes. In the near term, it suggested roundabouts be placed at the Airport Industrial Park and Tropical Gardens locations.
“The proposed Venetian Village (all phases) will have an impact on the study area, as indicated in this report,” Caribbean Civil Group found. “However, given recent development and potential future development within the study area as outlined, it would be practical for the Government of the Bahamas through its executing agency, the Ministry of Public Works, to programme the Windsor Field Road corridor for a capital improvement project upgrade over the 20-year horizon.
“The limits recommended are from the US departure access [at LPIA] to West Bay Street (Old Fort Bay roundabout) for an upgrade to reconstruct to a four-lane corridor. Accordingly, it is highly recommended that the intersections of Airport Industrial Park (AIP) and Tropical Garden be converted to roundabouts with a minimum 220 feet ICD (diameter).
“In the immediate future over the five-year horizon at build-out of the project, due to the increase in trips generated at the Charlotteville and Old Fort Bay roundabouts, respectively, it is highly recommended that the size of both roundabouts be increased to a minimum size of 220 feet (diameter) with minimum separated turn lanes of 300 feet storage capacity,” Caribbean Civil Group continued.
“In lieu of a complete intersection upgrade at AIP and Tropical Gardens, at the minimum as a stop-gap measure, it is highly recommended that a westbound right-turn lane be installed at both intersections with a minimum storage capacity of 150 feet.”
Ansel Watson, Brickell Management Group’s president, told Tribune Business it was vital that western New Providence’s road infrastructure be upgraded not just for Venetian Village’s benefit but that of all other residents and businesses in the area.
“Infrastructure in that area has to be improved,” he said. “That’s why the impact study was done - to expand the roadway and make the traffic flow a bit easier. Those roads are certainly going to be congested.” Mr Watson said Venetian Village will be designed such that residents and visitors will be able to navigate its roads without having to go back on Windsor Field Road, and they can also avoid the thoroughfare when crossing to Old Fort Bay Town Centre.
The Caribbean Civil Group report, meanwhile, added: “In the immediate, as a safety priority, it is recommended that Bahamas Power & Light (BPL) install street lighting on Venetian West Road, which is completely dark, supplemented with RPMs (road studs).
“It is also recommended that the ministry supplement the inadequate lighting along Windsor Field Road within the study area with RPM’s (road studs). With the upgrades as stated herein this report, whether as a stop-gap or capital works improvements, the addition of additional capacity should service the additional trips generated at an acceptable level of service.”
Dr Minnis, meanwhile, said the Venetian Village project was presented to his administration but was never approved by it. He told Tribune Business there were “challenges” with the proposal, and that Brickell had asked “for something we did not agree with”, but he was unable to recall specifics.
“That came up,” he added of the $200m project. “There were some challenges. We had some questions I can’t recall. That was still in discussion in terms of ironing out certain issues. We were in discussions about that. I know they were asking for something we did not agree with, but I can’t remember what it was.”
Flyingfish 3 months, 2 weeks ago
Yeah, the solution to solve traffic problems is to add more lanes, nothing else. Better Public Transit couldn't be a solutions. Although, what should you expect from someone who is never ride the jitney. I just wonder what they''ll think of when there is no more space to add lanes.
It's quite clear the for the short term we will benefit however the only reason anything is happen is because sebas blew his whistle not because they saw the need to do it.
birdiestrachan 3 months, 2 weeks ago
It is to bad the former PM did not do it While he was In power it would have been finished, perhaps he was busy blocking roads ,
bahamianson 3 months, 2 weeks ago
Lol, what does the T mean?
truetruebahamian 3 months, 2 weeks ago
I liked it better when there were less people, less cars and dirt roads. A slower more enjoyable place.
ExposedU2C 3 months, 2 weeks ago
This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.
AnObserver 3 months, 2 weeks ago
Why is this guy still attempting to be relevant? He needs to go quietly in to the shadows and avoid being seen in public. His term as Prime Minister was an epic failure. Possibly the worst leader The Bahamas has ever seen.
Mr Minnis: Your pissed off an entire nation. Nobody wants you. Go away.
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