Henry wants to take PalisadoesSaturday, January 06, 2018
BY BALFORD HENRY
Transport Minister Mike Henry said yesterday that he is still awaiting a report from the Norman Manley International Airport board on the crisis created by last Monday's traffic pile-up on the Palisadoes road.
He said that he expects to get the information in time to make a submission to the weekly Cabinet meeting at Jamaica House on Monday, on what might have led to the traffic jam that triggered flight delays and inconvenienced travellers.
At the same time, National Security Minister Robert Montague told the country that he has received a report on the debacle from Police Commissioner George Quallo and is currently reviewing the document.
Montague also said he has summoned the commissioner to a meeting at 9:00 am on Monday at his ministry.
Last night, Henry told the Jamaica Observer that he was concerned about the traffic arrangements made between the airport's management and the promoters of the New Year's day party, Sandz, which was pinpointed as the source of the excessive number of vehicles on the road.
He said he was aware of a similar pile-up last year, and had urged the airport administration to handle the matter more carefully.
However, Henry admitted that changes needed to be made to the highway leading to the airport, as it was not adequate for supporting airport peak traffic on a permanent basis.
He blamed the previous Government for shelving his multi-modal traffic plan for the area, which included increasing the lanes from two to four, building a boardwalk and even introducing a ferry system from Kingston.
He said that after he demitted office in 2016, the incoming government had discarded all his plans for controlling traffic in the area, and had left it increasingly vulnerable to peak traffic, especially with the expansion of facilities like the Caribbean Maritime University, which now has 5,000 students.
Henry also said that his hands are tied in dealing with the traffic issue, as the National Works Agency, which is the Government's road traffic authority, has been shifted to the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation.
However, he said that he would continue to press for the expansion of the highway to four lanes, as well as the building of a boardwalk as an early response to the problem.