More communities to benefit from road and water projects in Manchester
Member of Parliament for Manchester Central Rhoda Moy Crawford in dialogue with roadworkssupervisor Steve Phillips on Friday on deCarteret Road in Mandeville. (Photo: Kasey Williams)

MANDEVILLE, Manchester — Member of Parliament (MP) for Manchester Central Rhoda Moy Crawford says $21 million is being spent on rehabilitating main roads and some community roads in the constituency, while water improvement projects are progressing.

Crawford, a first-time MP representing the ruling Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), told the Jamaica Observer on Friday that $7 million is being spent to repair deCarteret Road, Jackson Drive, Waltham and Shaw Town before the end of this month.

“We have quite a number of road improvement projects coming on stream — it is a grand total of $21 million. We have another $6 million coming up shortly. All the programmes will be done [through] the National Works Agency [NWA],” Crawford said while on a tour of road rehabilitation work on deCarteret Road.

She said Davyton and Ingleside are to benefit from an allocation of $3 million to effect road repairs.

She added that another $3 million will be taken from the Constituency Development Fund to rehabilitate Wilbin Road (near Royal Flat).

“That road has never seen asphalt,” she said.

Crawford said that the bauxite institute has awarded $8 million for road works in Comfort, Broadleaf, Land Settlement and on Church Street.

“I have a very aggressive drive to see road rehabilitation. As the new fiscal year begins in April, I will be looking at some other corridors that are in need of repairs,” she said.

When asked about her relationship with the four councillors in the constituency, Crawford said has been in dialogue with the local government representatives.

She added that parochial roads are set to benefit from recently allocated funds from the Ministry of Local Government.

“I am aware that Minister Desmond McKenzie has made some special allocations via the Manchester Municipal Corporation and I am aware that the councillors have some roads that they are planning to undertake,” she explained.

“[It] will significantly help. It ties right back into my general message that I started in the beginning, that when all the elected officials — MP and councillors — pool resources and identify areas, we get more done in a faster time and the real winners are the people of the constituency,” she said.

Crawford said plans for the Greater Mandeville Traffic Management System are well advanced.

“The funds would have already been identified, the procurement process is complete, the contractors have already been identified. I know that one of the hiccups that we are having is that a section of some of the rerouting has to go through private property, so I know that the NWA was working closely with those [property owners],” she explained.

The $80-million project, which incorporates roads and intersections being widened and signalised, is expected to create a ring road around Mandeville.

She said work continues to improve the water supply in Manchester Central.

“We are laying and replacing pipes in some communities. We would have done that in Wilbin that has never had running water before. The laying of the pipes has been completed, residents are now applying for water. The same has been done in Church Street. In Knockpatrick, from below Northern Caribbean University straight to the post office, we have undertaken some major repairs there,” she explained.

The Pepper well field, downslope at low altitude in St Elizabeth, is the main source of water for Mandeville, which is more than 2,000 feet above sea level, atop the Manchester Plateau.

Mandeville and surrounding communities have struggled with water shortages for decades, with town elders insisting over a period of many years that the problem has hindered growth.

Crawford said the three-year Greater Mandeville Water Supply Improvement Project, which is now in its second year, is progressing, with pipe-laying projects so far completed on Perth Road and in Waltham.

“When that project is completed 30,000 people are set to benefit,” she said.

She added that a proposal has been drafted, following consultations between the business community and the National Water Commission (NWC), for submission to the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation to alleviate water supply issues in some areas.

“If we are successful with that, other communities that are not serviced by the NWC, particularly in the Bellefield Division, would stand to benefit,” she said.

BY KASEY WILLIAMS Observer staff reporter

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