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Exit Claw for Highways 2000

BY BRIAN BONITTO Associate Editor — Auto and Entertainment bonittob@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, January 10, 2014    

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SEVERAL persons using sections of Highway 2000 have found themselves on the wrong side of tyre deflation devices (shredders) installed last Friday.

The devices were installed as a deterrent for motorists who try to access or leave the toll road illegally.

"Quite a few persons have suffered tyre damage for having made illegal manoeuvres on them," said Nicole Kuster, administrative and communications chief at Jamaican Infrastructure Operator (JIO) Ltd, operating company of Highway 2000 (East-West corridor).

"And based on our knowledge, there are several who suffered damage and removed the vehicles from the scene."

Kuster was unwilling to give a number. However, she indicated that three devices were installed.

"There is one at the Free Town off-ramp heading in a westerly direction, another at the Free Town on-ramp heading in an easterly direction, and the Old Harbour on-ramp heading easterly."

Kuster said deflation devices took "significant capital expenditure" to acquire and implement and were strategically placed along the highway's hotspots.

"These are the areas where most transgressions are recorded," she told Auto. "We had to find a way to enhance the safety of the motorists using the highway and do it before anyone else dies."

In 2011, Delmar Sherriffe and his nine-year-old son, Jamie, died on the St Catherine leg of Highway 2000 when a truck driver illegally tried to exit on an access road.

Sherriffe, who was driving a Suzuki Vitara, died on the spot, while Jamie was pronounced dead at hospital. Sherriffe's wife and son were also injured in the incident.

In March last year, the Senate gave approval for the deflation devices to be implemented and only to retract the devices when the road is being accessed by emergency service providers. It was also stipulated that it was an offence to alter, damage, destroy or remove the devices.

Kuster said as part of the stipulation, the shredders have to be inspected every six months by the Toll Authority and an independent audit done.

She also told Auto that motorists who found themselves on the other side of the 'shredders' could face stiffer penalties.

"It's a violation.... therefore, they could also be prosecuted by the police for violating the Road Traffic Act," she said.

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