Living with heavy traffic

Fred Wesley | Wednesday, January 17, 2018
Travelling to and from work in the Capital City can be a daunting task for hundreds of commuters daily.
Fred Wesley
Fred Wesley

A trip that used to take up to 20 minutes for instance, from Kinoya to the city, now can stretch anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour in peak hour traffic.

With the new Vatuwaqa bridge opened, at least there is a reprieve along that route, with traffic easing along the southern end of Fletcher Rd most mornings now.

It is the traffic winding in from Nadera through to the junction at Laucala Beach Estate that is causing a bottle-neck as roadworks continue at the roundabout at Nabua.

This also affects traffic using the main road from the Centrepoint lights.

Traffic jams are a fact of life in most of our urban centres.

Given the large number of vehicles now in the country, traffic jams are inching out frustration in places such as Suva and Nadi for instance.

Not that they aren't a growing menace in other areas such as Labasa on Vanua Levu and the country's second city of Lautoka.

We are nowhere near the world's busiest cities in terms of congestion issues.

In 2016, Mexico City was tagged with the worst traffic congestion in the world.

Drivers spent nearly 97 per cent extra time during the morning hour and 94 per cent extra time during the evening time to arrive at their destinations.

Drivers were recorded having spent almost 219 hours of extra time travelling through traffic each year.

Last year Business Insider, an American financial and business news website, estimated that traffic congestion cost the United States $300 billion per year in fuel and time.

In Los Angeles for instance, drivers spent an average 104 hours stuck in the city's traffic jams, costing $9.7 billion in wasted time and fuel, which amounted to $2408 per driver. Traffic congestion is a reality of life in the big city.

You either do not accept it, or you learn to live with it.

Traffic jams aren't going away any time soon either.

Add the additional number of vehicles that join the queues each year on top of new drivers, and you have a potent mix that attracts everything from frustration to anger, and the infusion of road rage.

Do we really have to go through this daily though?

Can we hope that there are plans to address this concern?

Are our roads to the city designed to effectively cater for the demands of a growing population?

Are there plans in place to relieve traffic congestion?

One can only hope these questions will be answered by the focused development of roads in parts of the country, especially on those along the Suva-Nausori corridor.

It is interesting that the Fiji Roads Authority has actually downplayed claims of more traffic congestion along the Suva-Nausori corridor during peak hours.

FRA chief executive officer Jonathan Moore said there had been less traffic jams along the corridor.

It is good to know. If that is the case, then the challenge is to keep reducing to a reasonable level the time we spend travelling to work and school daily.

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