Motorists protest bad roads for second day in St JamesTuesday, September 21, 2021
ST JAMES, Jamaica — Members of the security forces were kept busy this morning clearing roadblocks mounted by irate motorists who were protesting for the second consecutive day over the bad roads on which they have to travel in St James.
The protesters, including taxi operators, used large tree limbs, old motor vehicles, and any debris they found to block several sections of the main thoroughfare which connects Montego Bay to the southern parts of the parish.
Scores of commuters were left stranded as a result of the massive road block.
The demonstrators called on elected representatives to swiftly address the deplorable condition of the roadway.
Member of Parliament for St James East Central, Edmund Bartlett, who conceded that the corridor needs urgent attention, implored the road users to exercise a little more patience as the contract for the work, estimated at over $200 million, had been put to tender two weeks ago.
Community relations officer for the National Works Agency's western office, Janel Ricketts, noted that in 2019 the agency commenced, through a phased approach, the rehabilitation of the 6.1 kilometre stretch of road between the Fairfield Bridge and the Hurlock Bridge in St James. To date, approximately $200 million has been spent to upgrade just under four kilometres of the road. This was completed under the first and second phases of the programme, Ricketts said.
These projects involved extensive drainage improvement and significant repairs to the road surface.
Ricketts said that the third phase of the project will see the upgrade of the Friendship to Hurlock road.
She noted that the road, which serves several communities, including Tucker, Irwin, and the new Estuary development in Friendship, is heavily traversed.