News

Help, we need a road!

Bartons Spring residents frustrated

BY PAUL HENRY Co-ordinator, Crime/Court Desk henryp@jamaicaobserver.com

Monday, July 07, 2014    

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WITH its steep climb, loose stony surface and grassy patch in some places, the four-mile stretch connecting Bartons Spring, in north St Elizabeth, to the district of Coker would make the perfect trail for off-road motor racing.

But this is no off-road trail. It is the main road that serves the community of Bartons Spring and some parts of Coker. And according to residents, the road has been in a state of disrepair for more than 20 years, and has got worse as the years progressed.

"We badly need a road. We don't have any road to walk on," Kerry-Ann Montaque, who operates a shop at the corner of the Bartons Spring and Coker main roads, told the Jamaica Observer during a visit to the area.

Montaque said that the member of parliament, the Jamaica Labour Party's JC Hutchinson, told them during a meeting a few weeks ago that some work will be done on the road this financial year, but she and other residents said that they have heard that story year after year.

Hutchinson, when contacted, told the Observer that the road in question is a parochial road, which is the responsibility of the parish council. Still, he said that there will be an allocation of about $3 million to $4 million for the financial year to commence work on the thoroughfare.

Hutchinson admitted that the road had in fact been in a deplorable condition for some time, but that the priorities are the main road from Maggotty to Elderslie and the one from Mulgrave to Merrywood. The MP said that these repairs could amount to approximately $200 million.

Still, residents of Bartons Springs said they are suffering as taxi operators have refused to traverse the road and they have to walk off the hill to the Coker main road for transportation.

There were also reports to the Observer of people falling ill and being unable to get transportation to hospital because taxi operators are apprehensive to travel the stretch.

For the month of February, some sections of Bartons Spring were without water as the National Water Commission removed a pump from the community and installed it in a neighbouring community. A water truck was sent to the area but the driver refused to go any distance into the Bartons Spring community to deliver the precious liquid to residents due to the condition of the road.

Still, the section up the hill that the truck was able to travel was reportedly made drivable by residents who packed the road with stones and levelled it off.

A number of residents told the Observer that they will withhold their votes at the next general election if the road isn't fixed.

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