Engineers to assess collapsed section of highway today

BY MARK CUMMINGS
Editor-at- Large
cummingsm@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, December 14, 2017

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FALMOUTH, Trelawny — A team of engineers from the National Works Agency's (NWA's) head offices in Kingston is today expected to commence further investigations into the collapse of a section of the Northern Coastal Highway, near Hague, Trelawny, which was closed to vehicular traffic yesterday.

According to the NWA's communication and customer service manager, Stephen Shaw, the team will also make recommendations on how best to address the matter.

“The engineers from Kingston will travel down there to look at the area, and take some decisions. Once those decisions have been taken, we will proceed to have the drainage system rebuilt so we can reopen the road in the shortest possible time,” Shaw told the Jamaica Observer last night.

Shaw added that while he could not say when the road will be reopened, heavy-duty equipment will also be at the location today to begin the excavation of the area.

According to Shaw, the closure of the roadway had resulted from serious failure in a section of the embankment forming the road.

He said heavy rains in Trelawny on Tuesday caused debris to clog a major drain in the area, resulting in a partial collapse of the road.

Shaw said that a technical team from Trelawny carried out an inspection of the area early yesterday, and found that the entire width of the road was undermined and likely to cave in under the weight of a passing vehicle.

The closure of the roadway resulted in traffic going in the direction of Montego Bay and Ocho Rios being diverted through the already congested town of Falmouth. This caused a massive pile-up of traffic in the area.

Several motorists told the Observer that they spent several hours in traffic as they made their way from Duncans through the bustling town en route to Montego Bay.

“The traffic was crazy. It took me over three hours from Duncans just to get past Falmouth. This normally takes me 15 minutes the most,” said a disappointed motorist.

There were also anxious moments for scores of cruise passengers who had journeyed outside of the town on excursions.

Many failed to return to their respective cruise vessels that were docked at the historic Falmouth Cruise Pier, at the prescribed time.

The Observer understands that the two vessels — Oasis of the Seas and Disney Fantasy — that were docked at the pier, departed much later than usual due to the late arrival of passengers.

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