Mixed reviews after first day of causeway opening

POSTED: 12/27/13 3:24 PM

St. Maarten – the bridge across the lagoon opened for traffic on Monday and social media got busy assessing the new situation. The reviews were mixed, to say the least, but the real test may come when the holidays are over and everybody gets back to work.

Kendall Dupersoy, who has criticized the bridge-project in the past, changed his opinion: “U stand corrected, new causeway does help with traffic in Simpson Bay, let’s see if it was just a coincidence. I hope not,’ he wrote Tuesday morning on Facebook.

Barely an hour and a half later, the first reports about traffic jams hit the social network. One Facebooker observed that the roundabout in Cole Bay is part of the problem: “The traffic from Bellevue is congesting the roundabout; the traffic going to the causeway from Cole Bay was terrible around 10 a.m. After the roundabout the traffic was good, I was heading airport side.”

Other posts also pointed to the roundabout in Cole Bay as a party pooper. “They should have left a straight road for traffic heading to the French side and vice versa. All traffic is now funneled onto one roundabout – our solution for everything. The causeway in itself was and still is a good idea. How we direct traffic on and off it, is the problem.”

Alston Lourens had a good experience with the causeway on Tuesday afternoon. “I can honestly see great relief. This morning around 10 a.m. there was traffic on the hill but I believe the bridge was open. I saw some traffic around 1 p.m. in the Cole Bay side but it was flowing, not stagnant. I left the house (Front street at 3 p.m. and got to the airport at 3.25 p.m. Not possible last week.”

But not everybody was that positive. One Facebooker grumbled that the causeway “simply reroutes traffic from one problem area and deposits it in another problem area. The only people this causeway will help are those that are going from Simpson Bay and staying in Cole Bay. Everywhere else (traffic) is just running in(to) the same bottlenecks.”

He added an old plan to this criticism: limit the number of cars on the island and start thinking about a light rail transportation system. “There is simply no road that can be built that will solve the traffic problem that does not involve minimizing the number of cars on the road.”

Duane Robin, a former journalist, agreed with the light-rail option. “But nothing gets solved by allowing more auto imports and then filling ponds and lagoons every time (until) someone realizes again, “Oh, damn, traffic’s congested and nobody can park.”

René Wilson reported Tuesday around 9,30 p.n.: “I was in traffic out of Simpson Bay for almost two hours, so I don’t see how it is helping with traffic when everyone is trying to get to town.”

Wilson also criticized safety aspects: “I have a question for all the fools that feel they are smart. You built a bridge. Now you have an accident on the bridge. Name one department in St. Maarten that is specialized in bridge rescue? Not the police for sure, nor the government fire department. So you name it. And when all you fools are done, then get back to me. Jackasses.”

Wilson referred to an accident where by an Indian man went “over the edge of the St. Maarten runway and died in 6 feet of water,” adding that the depth at the causeway is about 30 feet.

In a later comment, Wilson notes that he working on “something that Theo (Heyliger – ed.) and (Minister) Maurice Lake are involved in, with land that was awarded by the judge to be given back to the St. Maarten people.”

Jacinto Mock, like Wilson a citizen with political ambition through his Social Reform Party, claimed in a post that the causeway “is destroying business and jobs on the Dutch side” and foresees that eventually more investments will move to the French side. “You must admit that the traffic flow of illegal immigrants to and from the airport, the French side and Cole Bay has also improved,” he wrote, adding as a rather mysterious closing remark, “to include inhuman and tortuous deportation.”


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