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Prince Charles businesses reject road closure

When the Ministry of Works attempted to close Prince Charles Drive Monday, one business owner used his forklift to remove barricades used to close the road, Superwash president Dionisio D’Aguilar toldThe Nassau Guardianyesterday.

D’Aguilar said the Prince Charles business owners”sent the Ministry of Works packing,”following a meeting Tuesday night. The business owners insisted that the Ministry of Works find some way to allow both lanes of Prince Charles Drive to remain open while infrastructure repairs are done.

D’Aguilar, who has a Superwash location near the intersection of Fox Hill Road and Prince Charles Drive, said he and other business owners fear the road closure will adversely affect their businesses. He said area residents are also concerned.

“The residents and the business community objected categorically to the closure of Prince Charles Drive for eight weeks,”D’Aguilar said.

“They felt that the effects on the businesses would be completely devastating, and they are completely right.

“They feel the government should make an attempt to keep Prince Charles open while they put in the infrastructure works. The government claimed they could not leave the road open, but the business community of Prince Charles sent the Ministry of Works packing and told them to go back and see if they can put together a plan that would allow for Prince Charles to remain open while they put the infrastructure into the ground.”

Khader Alikhan, project coordinator for the New Providence Road Improvement Project, toldThe Nassau Guardianyesterday that the ministry is now consulting with project contractor Jose Cartellone Construcciones Civiles(JCCC)in order to create a plan ensuring the road remains open.

Alikhan said the ministry suggested leaving only the westbound lane open. Under the plan eastbound traffic would be diverted. However, that suggestion was dismissed by area business owners who insist on keeping both lanes operational.

Sandy Schaeffer, president of Robin Hood, said his business has already been affected by the road works on Prince Charles Drive.

D’Aguilar said the government should have given the businesses in the area time to consult with their customers.

“We realize what will happen when it’s done,”he said.

“We are just not prepared to suffer for eight weeks to get to the promised land.

“They should have given us an enormous lead time to emotionally, psychologically and physically prepare for this closure we could have prepared handouts.”

While the Ministry of Works insisted last year that it had done an evaluation to determine how road work would impact businesses in the Baillou Hill Road area, a court decision in August found that the government’s consultation process with stakeholders in the area about the works was inadequate.

Those businesses are seeking damages.

Alikhan said evaluations were done for the road improvement project as a whole and not for each construction corridor.

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