Plans for easier access to PortmoreFriday, May 07, 2021
BY BALFORD HENRY
The Government has instructed the National Works Agency (NWA) to develop on the concept for a more efficient access in and out of Portmore, St Catherine, using the Mandela Highway.
According to the minister responsible for roads, Everald Warmington, “We are very happy with the improvements in vehicular movements along the Mandela Highway, generally. We are, however, still concerned with the movements into and out of Portmore via this route. To this end, we are actively looking at another significant project to positively.”
He said that a project is being planned that will be done in two phases, including a 1.7 kilometre-long, two-lane ramp from the Mandela Highway to Municipal Boulevard, inclusive of a new 120-metre-long bridge across the Rio Cobre.
In addition, new traffic signals are to be installed at the Dyke Road/Gregory Park main road junction and the replacement of the Dyke Road/Municipal Boulevard roundabout with traffic signals.
The Dyke Road is to be widened to accommodate three lanes between Municipal Boulevard and Gregory Park, with street lighting, road markings, and signage.
Warmington said that while these plans will be the deliverable for Phase One of the project, there will be a Phase Two, which will include, among other things: The construction of an overpass of the Dyke Road; widening of three kilometres of road from Municipal Boulevard (Dyke Road to Grange Lane), from two to four lanes with a concrete median; installation of street lights, road markings and signage.
He said that the benefits to be realised by the people, especially those who live or work in Portmore, will include a reduction in travel time from 45 to 15 minutes; an increase in the afternoon peak capacity from 1,200 vehicles per hour to 3,000 vehicles per hour, and a significantly improved road condition for people to traverse.
“We have looked at the likely negative impact that this project may cause to include some motorists inadvertently turning off the Mandela onto this new road, while intending to travel on the East/West Toll. So, additionally, we will require some of the lands at Ackee Village in order to realise this project,” he explained.
He said that the cost for this project is expected to be high, but that the Government is committed to finding an appropriate solution for the congestion levels now being experienced by the people of Portmore, especially with the area well poised for exponential growth over the next few year.
Turning to the Corporate Area, he said that following on the success of the works to improve travel through the Barbican community in St Andrew, and the many requests received for further works, under the Barbican Road project, a short piece of dualisation had been done along East Kings House Road.
However, this year it will be continued all the way to Lady Musgrave Road, ending at Trafalgar Road. Approximately $3.1 billion will be spent on this project.
He said that on the eastern end of Kingston, he has seen where more work is needed. He recalled that work was done on Camp Road, under MIDP, to include relocating the main entrance to the JDF headquarters.
“We will be doing more work in that area. This time institutions such as the Bustamante Hospital and Edna Manley College will receive direct benefits from the improvement that will be made to widen Arthur Wint Drive, from Mountain View Avenue to Tom Redcam Drive at a cost of $1.23 billion.
Washington Boulevard being one of the major corridors in the capital city where large sums have been spent over the years to have it improved, there continues to remain one major weakness, which is in the form of a reduction in the available lanes heading east, once you have crossed over the Patrick City junction.
“The problem is that the bridge that spans that section of the Sandy Gully can only accommodate two lanes, even though the road is three lanes on either side of the eastbound structure. We are going to be fixing this issue for good! We have earmarked $200 million for the construction of a bridge to facilitate three continuous lanes from Duhaney Park all the way to Constant Spring Road,” he stated.