GIS - 24 February, 2020: The Metro Express project is widely acclaimed by the population to be a modern, reliable, user-friendly and environment-friendly mode of public transport. Up to now some 800 000 commuters have travelled safely on the trams of the Metro Express, a project where security and quality are prioritised.
This statement was made by the Minister of Land Transport and Light Rail, Mr. Alan Ganoo, this morning in the National Assembly, in reply to a Private Notice Question as regards the Light Rail Transit (LRT) System.
The Minister reiterated Government’s vision of creating a new system of transport for the betterment of the population and assured that a new plan for the public’s safety is being elaborated. He indicated that the light rail system is designed to integrate with other modes of transport and that adaptability and a new culture and discipline of road users as regards to the new road-rail configuration are key to the efficient integration of the light rail system.
He pointed out that an assessment has been carried out by the authorities with regard to additional safety measures to be implemented at rail-road interactions and following a multi-stakeholders workshop held on 14 February 2020, it was recommended that additional measures such as geometric improvements including the combination of rails curb, improved road markings, extension of yellow boxes, flashing of red lights as warning signals, and removal of road parking could to be implemented.
According to Minister Ganoo, given the risks associated with the adaptation period of road users and unexpected behaviors, the use of a barrier system as a temporary safety measure is deemed to be the most optimal solution. On that note, he urged road users and the public in general to act more responsibly.
The Minister also underlined that the LRT alignment is the product of planning and engineering design that has considered various options and satisfies various criteria such as safety, risk operational efficiency, space, affordability, engineering and urban integration. The intent of this alignment, he added, is to maximise the opportunity and capability of LRT technology to integrate within the urban environment while ensuring the sustainability of the LRT system.
He highlighted that the design of level crossing considers two key aspects, namely safety and capacity of traffic. The design of level crossing has incorporated various designs inputs which require early involvement, effective cooperation, and communication of all stakeholders namely the Road Development Authority, local authorities, and the Police, in order to identity safety hazards and related risks.
The hazards and risk mitigation process has been reiterated through the whole life of the project that is at concept stage, design stage, project execution stage, implementation and post implementation stage, including operation and maintenance, all this to ensure the safety of the system across the asset life cycle is properly monitored and managed, he said.
Mr. Ganoo also indicated that the contractor Larsen and Toubro, as part of the contract, ensured that a road and safety audit was conducted by an independent and qualified audit team as part of the preliminary and also in advance of opening any part of the work to the traffic. The corrective actions highlighted in the road safety audit report have also been implemented before operating, including, improvement of signals, channeling of pedestrians, installation of speed breakers and additional warning signs.
Moreover, the Minister emphasised that there are different level of communication in the form of a multi-stakeholders cell at the Prime Minister’s Office and a communication team at Metro Express Limited (MEL) and Larsen and Toubro and the Police, to ensure a constant flow of information to the public since the inception of the project.
Since last year, he indicated, over 20 meetings regarding safety and security along the metro express railway corridor, were held. MEL, he said, has also started its education, awareness and sensitisation campaign in the media since 2019, along with the distribution of some 50 000 leaflets and 5000 posters on rail and road intersections safety to the public.
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