Gordon Town residents overjoyed with new roadMonday, September 13, 2021
BY CANDICE HAUGHTON
The frightful scenes of a roadway plunging below to the valley after being hit by tropical storms Eta and Zeta and the bitter complaints about the inevitable overcharging by taxi drivers that followed, have given way to a bright new roadway and unbridled happiness for residents who use it daily.
Though Gordon Town Road in St Andrew, which was damaged in the devastating November rains, has not officially been declared as completed, residents of the area are grateful that vehicles are now able to drive on it.
This new development means that hundreds of people who live in Gordon Town, Mavis Bank, Content Gap and surrounding areas will be able to travel via the Gordon Town Road without the added burden of paying extra transportation fare.
Due to the breakaway, some residents living in nearby communities opted to walk or drive on motorcycles on the precarious remainder of the roadway. Motorists had to use the no-less hazardous detour through Savage Pen or other alternative routes.
One taxi driver and resident Dwayne Harris told the Jamaica Observer that before the new road he felt disappointed that he was unable to carry his passengers all the way to their destinations.
“I had to let off the people dem halfway and was not able to complete my journey. It is great and wonderful now because me can get to do what I want to do. I can even get to shop in Gordon Town because I couldn't get there unless I get out of my car and walk, so it's more convenient now,” Harris said, adding that his passengers are now happy because this is more convenient for them.
Peter Powell, a resident of Gayle Mount, a community close to Gordon Town, said he was happy with the work that was done to the road.
“The road is alright, everybody feel good cause you have people from Mavis Bank, Saint Peters, Content Gap, all a dem people can go home. Everybody feel good now because last night [Friday night] them couldn't go home, them would a deh pan the road until after 12. People can drive on it,” he said, adding that he travels to Gordon Town regularly and the damaged road was very inconvenient for him because he had to walk there instead of taking a taxi.
Another Gordon Town resident and taxi driver, Damion Baker, said: “Everybody happy, everybody glad seh the road finish now so at least we can go back now to we normal routine. I feel good because at least the people dem weh live a Mavis Bank and Mount Charles can get fi just tek one bus and go home. Them can drive them personal vehicle and them nuh affi park and tek something else and go cross, so it cost them less.”
He added: “It affected me in many ways because the regular customers them a complain seh we leave them out because through the Mavis Bank people them a come down we nah get fi carry them, so it did kind a put a damper with our personal customer and we couldn't carry them all the way home.”
Gellion Fletcher, who operates a shop on Gordon Town Road near the section of the road that was damaged, told the Observer that although the noise and dust from the roadwork had affected her health, she didn't complain because she understood that it was necessary.
“The noise and dust nearly kill me, coughing hard and all a dem something deh but a just so it affi work because the road did need fi fix. We couldn't do nothing still we just affi work with it because a di road fi the people dem. Mi used to sorry fi just the people dem but me get more customer, from the work man dem and all the people dem passing. Me meet a lot of people, me never know seh a suh much people live up deh suh,” Fletcher said, adding that she expects to see a significant drop in sales now that the road is fixed.
In February, Cabinet approved a $187-million contract to fix the section of the roadway. Work on the roadway began shortly after following that contract approval, and late last month, Member of Parliament Juliet Holness announced that repairs were almost complete.
“We are almost there! The repairs to the Gordon Town Road breakaway are almost complete and we are on target, as promised, for the end of August,” Holness stated in a tweet.
However, to date, Holness has not announced when the road will be officially opened.