MANDEVILLE, Manchester — A traffic improvement project planned for here to address long-standing congestion is being delayed by difficulties in relocating utility poles.
National Works Agency (NWA) Communications Manager Stephen Shaw says the implementation of the Greater Mandeville Traffic Management System is being affected by constraints in the availability of a specialised team from the Jamaica Public Service company (JPSco) to relocate utility poles in Mandeville.
"… We have poles to relocate in about seven locations. The JPSco has a team that does this type of work [but] because of the work that we are doing on the St Thomas and Portland sides of the Southern Coastal Highway Improvement programme, we have a serious backlog of poles to be removed on that side," he told the Jamaica Observer on Wednesday.
"They [team] have not been able to move into Manchester to get the work done in Mandeville, and that is why those poles have not yet been relocated," he added.
Concerns over the delayed implementation of the $80-million project, which incorporates roads and intersections being widened and signalised, arose among councillors earlier this month.
Mayor of Mandeville Donovan Mitchell and Councillor Mario Mitchell (People's National Party, Bellefield Division) expressed their concern over the delay at the local municipality's recent monthly meeting, as the festive season fast approaches.
"Two months ago the announcement was made that we are in the final stage of [starting] the [project]. What is the latest on that? The traffic has already started [and] it is very bad at the moment," said Councillor Mitchell.
"Good question, but that question would have to be answered by the NWA…. to date I have not heard anything. I know they had a problem with JPSco negotiating the removal of some of the poles — you know that it is a costly venture — so we will have to find out and to see where we are because I thought by now at least two of these areas would have been completed for the easier flow of traffic when it comes [onto] the Christmas season," remarked the mayor.
Shaw said he is not aware of an issue with negotiations between the NWA and JPSco.
"… I don't know about the money being an issue; it is more having to do with the human resources not being available from the JPSco standpoint," he informed.
Among the roads and intersections to be signalised under the Greater Mandeville Traffic Management System are North Race Course Road to Main Street, North Race Course Road to Caledonia Road, Villa Road to Main Street, South Race Course Road, Caledonia Road, Park Crescent, Manchester Road, Perth Road, and Greenvale Road.