St Toolies residents blame Highway 2000 construction for road blockage

MANCHESTER, Jamaica — Residents of St Toolies and adjoining areas in Manchester were left stranded on Monday as debris from the construction of the US$188 million May Pen to Williamsfield leg of Highway 2000, blocked a section of the roadway in their community.

Heavy and persistent rains associated with Hurricane Ian continue to affect southern parts of Jamaica.

In a 50-second video a woman complained that the drainage work is not sufficient on the highway project.

“Look at the highway now. The St Toolies road is blocked, nothing can cross it here. Here are some vehicles stuck on the road and the dirt from the banking [where] a landslide [happened]… We need some help, we need justice,” she said.

“Look at the condition [of the road], so if you are sick to go to the hospital right now you can’t make it,” she added.

Work on the May Pen to Williamsfield leg of Highway 2000 is fast advancing with all major bridges on the roadway complete and the project advancing uphill in Manchester to meet the March 2023 deadline.

The project – which will reduce travel time between Kingston, Mandeville and points west – was originally scheduled for completion in October 2022.

– Kasey Williams

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