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Mayor renews calls for Lucea bypass

Observer writer

Thursday, June 15, 2017


The need for a highway to bypass the town of Lucea in a bid to ease traffic congestion has again been placed on the front burner.

Leading the charge for a bypass is Mayor of Lucea Sheridan Samuels, who argues that the bottleneck one-way system that exists on Hanover Street in the town is causing undue delays for commuters travelling between the tourist resorts of Montego Bay and Negril.

“If we have tourists coming from Montego Bay and have to be in traffic for three hours passing through the town of Lucea, the Government will have to now pay some attention to getting something done. And there is where they will have to take some policy decisions now and get a bypass … either on the seaside or through the hills. But something will have to be done,” said a strident Mayor Samuels.

The mayor, who says he will be lobbying for the bypass, argues that travelling through Savanna-la-Mar to Negril is not an option, as “things could get worse on the Savanna-la-Mar route.”

Mayor Samuels told the Jamaica Observer West that the Hanover Municipal Corporation is currently lobbying for the Willey Delliser Boulevard main road in the capital town Lucea to be reconverted into a two-way street.

Willey Delliser Boulevard was converted into a one-way during the 90s, and in 2008 the National Works Agency converted Millers Drive, Bigwell Lane, Moseley Drive, and Cressy's Lane into one-way streets. The move was as a result of congestion on Hanover Street, particularly during peak hours.

Now, Mayor Samuels says the narrow Hanover Street is congested due to trucks delivering goods to business places in the area, as well other motor vehicles using the roadway.

“We have been lobbying to get Willey Delliser Boulevard into two-way traffic. Reason for this: the road around there coming off Hanover Street … it is the only road that allows vehicle to travel through the town. It is a one way. There are a lot of business places, buses, delivery trucks and those things parked on the one-way street. So we have a bottleneck situation,” explained Mayor Samuels.

Previous mayors, both from the Jamaica Labour Party and People's National Party, have called for a reversal of the roads to two-way traffic.

Meanwhile, Mayor Samuels noted that while the widening and elevation of Seaview Drive is needed, that alone would not solve the bottleneck in the town.

“It will not solve the problem because the water on the road is not the major problem that we are having in the town. The major problem that we are having now is the congestion itself. And if we don't have Willey Delliser Boulevard turn back into a two-way traffic, it is still going to be a problem …More than 5,000 vehicles pass through this town everyday. And if you have just a one-way street to take the vehicle out of the town, it is going to be a problem. It is a problem today, and I can tell you, people are buying more vehicle and say for the next five years, probably the traffic will now backup to Montego Bay,” Mayor Samuels argued.

Meanwhile, community relations officer for the Western Region of the National Works Agency, Janel Ricketts, told the Observer West that there are currently no plans to change what exists.

“There are no plans to reverse Willey Delliser Boulevard to a two-way. We had done extensive studies ahead of our decision to do that some years ago along with the citizens. All persons were on-board, including the Parish Council (Municipal Corporation), which forms part of the traffic committee, and it is the best way, based on what is available in terms of the current road situation, to have the flow of traffic [as it is]. At this time it is not considered feasible to reverse it to a two-way,” Ricketts emphasised.