Construction at the Adventurers Way/Norma Headley Drive and West Atlantic intersection is underway yet again as officials move to reconfigure the busy causeway into a roundabout.
Seven months ago, work crews were brought in to give the area a facelift, from erecting signs showing a reduced speed limit to reconfiguring the way motorists maneuver in and out of the side streets, to placing markings on the road.
Traffic officials revealed back then the decision came about with consultation with the Grand Bahama Port Authority, as a result of the number of road accidents.
It was also revealed, however, that the area was being closely monitored and, if need be, could undergo further reconstruction.
City Management Manager, Troy McIntosh, said yesterday transformation of the intersection at West Atlantic and Norma Headley Drive, formally known as John Tinker, and Adventurer's Way was expected to take four to six weeks.
" There obviously has been a lot of rain, an unusually wet period, so there has been some delays," he said.
Despite the initial reconfiguration, motorists still felt the need to disobey the traffic signs.
" We have had some challenges. We put a temporary solution in place, pending the approval of a budget for the construction of a roundabout. That has been approved, hence a commencement of construction," said McIntosh.
Traditionally, roundabouts are a lot safer compared to traffic lights as drivers tend to run traffic lights on amber or red. "But for a circle, obviously you have to slow down as you approach the median and then maneuver through according to either arrows or a directional sign," he explained.
The city manager stressed that history has shown that there are less incidents at roundabout once they are used properly as the traffic tends to filter through more easily.
Additionally, it lessens the wait time, compared to red lights.
However, in the months following the initial reconfiguration, traffic police found that drivers were still attempting to make illegal traffic maneuvers, causing near mishaps and fender benders.
" That's unfortunate. We have seen persons making illegal right turns, in spite of the clear signs that we have up," McIntosh said. "Obviously, most of the incidents there were because of persons either trying to make the right turn off West Atlantic into Norma Headley or right turns out of Norma Headley across to Adventurer's.
" Both have been the problem leg. Thus, we put in the temporary measure hoping that people would obey it, but unfortunately, they weren't doing that."
Deadline for completion of construction is set for month end, weather permitting and McIntosh pointed out that the contractor is working diligently to push the project forward as best as possible.
Another major delay was as a result of having to relocate a pole on the northeast corner which required the involvement of Cable Bahamas and the Grand Bahama Power Company.
Officials do not intend to have any road closures during the project and once construction is complete, the newest roundabout will take the count to 13 circles on the island.
While noting that the thoroughfare has been a serious challenge for his department, Assistant Superintendent of Police Kenwood Taylor said, the speed limit was reduced to accommodate the two schools in that area.
" We're excited about the new roundabout. We have already begun the process, we have an officer there periodically assisting with traffic duties until it is completed," he said.
" We have asked Mr. McIntosh to put up clearly marked signs indicating that it is a school zone and we feel that with the roundabout weâ d better be able to police it and have a reduction in traffic accidents at that location."
Officials at the neighboring school were informed of the reconstruction and the proper use of the road back in February and Taylor had maintained that construction in that area was not yet complete.
" Prior to the intersection change, we were inundated with accidents so with the incoming roundabout we expect accidents to be at a minimum once the markings are placed there," he said.
" Also with the roundabout we're going to consider asking the city management to assist with pedestrian crossing at that location so that pedestrians will have a smooth transition."