City's road repairs in high gear

BY BALFORD HENRY
Observer senior reporter
balfordh@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, March 16, 2018

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The road repair season is in full swing since the start of the year, and motorists are often complaining that there is almost nowhere to drive.

But the fact is that both the Government and the National Works Agency (NWA) have been advising the people using the island's road network of projects amounting billions of dollars.

And since both motorists and pedestrians have been complaining for months about roads, including route taxi drivers who have even blocked some thoroughfares to make their point, it is expected that the country will have to live with the situation, at least for the time being.

Prime Minister Holness, who is also the minister of economic growth and job creation, informed the House of Representatives late last year of over $4.5 billion in roadworks starting early this year.

So motorists and the Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) passengers who have been complaining recently about the pile-ups caused by these projects had better get used to them.

For example, there is a major roadworks programme currently on in the North Parade area of downtown Kingston.

The National Works Agency (NWA) had advised on its website that drainage improvement works planned for sections of downtown Kingston, during the current period would result in restrictions in traffic movement along a section of Spanish Town Road, as well as the entrance to the bus bay located at North Parade.

The NWA is replacing a defective drain cover in the vicinity of the Denham Town Police Station as well as reconstructing a storm water drain and sidewalks at the North Parade Bus Bay.

According to manager of communication and customer services at the NWA Stephen Shaw, the works will necessitate some changes in how motorists access or traverse both areas.

Shaw explained that the eastbound lane along Spanish Town Road, which takes motorists toward downtown Kingston, would be reduced to single-lane traffic between Industrial Terrace and North Street as of March 9, in preparation for the installation of grating covers which commenced on March 10.

The restrictions were effected overnight as the existing steel plates had disintegrated significantly, becoming unsafe for passing vehicles. The planned works, which are expected to last at least until next Tuesday, March 20.

The project will be completed with the installation of metal gratings across the westbound lane.

The works to be carried out at the North Parade bus bay involves the demolition and reconstruction of three metres of storm water drain and the recasting of a section of the sidewalk which had fallen into disrepair.

Shaw says that the work area would have been cordoned off from Sunday, March 11, to ensure that the area is clear for work to commence on Monday morning.

He also advised bus operators using the North Parade area to exercise caution when entering and leaving the area during the period of construction, as the bus lanes will be restricted as a result of the planned works. This project is expected to be completed within two weeks.

Both projects are part of a $10-million drainage improvement programme currently being undertaken by the NWA in several locations across the Corporate Area.

Motorists have also been advised to brace for traffic changes in the Three Mile area of St Andrew as major technical work has begun — as an important precursor to the plans to reconstruct Hagley Park Road, from Three Miles to Half-Way-Tree.

Shaw says that as part of the plan to widen Hagley Park Road, bridges are to be built at Three Miles. The corridor is to be widened to accommodate four lanes of traffic.

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