Editorial comment -Riding on the wild side

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Travelling on some of the roads along the Suva-Nausori corridor is a bit like taking a ride on the wild side.

Potholes along Ratu Mara Rd at Nabua in Suva, parts of Fletcher Rd, Grantham Rd, and Milverton Rd are forcing drivers to hit the brakes more now.

Along Vesivesi Rd and Tivi Place, Nokonoko Rd and parts of Ratu Dovi Rd in Nasinu are more potholes that are already frustrating drivers and commuters.

It is the harsh reality of daily rides into Suva.

It hits the hardest on the suspension systems of vehicles and jolts the body when rain water fills crater-like potholes that vehicles sink into quite regularly.

It is a nightmare for drivers already loaded with fuel and other associated vehicle costs.

The potholes certainly aren’t inspiring confidence on parts of our infrastructure and don’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon either.

Attention will no doubt shift to the quality of building material as our interlinking roads continue to take a battering with the heavy movement of traffic daily.

Potholes can be dangerous as drivers instinctively try to avoid them, sometimes putting themselves directly in front of oncoming vehicles.

We aren’t the only ones being forced to deal with potholes though. In July last year for instance, The Hindu newspaper called for the fixing of potholes.

It referred to 2016 when potholes claimed six lives every day in India, however, the figure, it stated, could have been higher as dozens of pothole-related deaths went unaccounted because crash reporting protocols varied from state to state.

According to official statistics though, it stated, potholes claimed 11,836 lives and left 36,421 people injured in India from 2013 to 2016.

In the face of the many potholes popping up on many of our roads, all night works on the four-lane project along the Kings Rd from the Rewa Bridge in Nausori to Nakasi have been stopped.

In a statement yesterday, Fiji Roads Authority (FRA) chief executive officer Jonathan Moore said they had stopped all works because of inconsiderate driver behaviour.

The issue of speeding, he said, was becoming a major concern for our road workers who were at risk.

Some “arrogant and inconsiderate drivers”, he said, continued to treat the active construction site as a highway.

Motorists are reminded to please slow down around these construction areas.

He attributed the deterioration of roads in many areas to prolonged periods of heavy rain.

“In many locations the deterioration is so progressed that we can no longer maintain the serviceable road through pothole repairs, and we will now have to carry out sectional carriageway repairs,” he said.

Meanwhile, repair works on roads along the Suva-Nausori corridor, it seems, will be carried out once the four-lane project from Nakasi to Rewa Bridge is completed because “it would result in even worse congestion and disruption”.

Our challenge then is to be patient, carefully manoeuvre our way through the maze of seemingly endless potholes and get to our destinations safely.

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