MANDEVILLE, Manchester — Custos of Manchester Garfield Green has criticised the authorities for failing to adequately maintain the Winston Jones Highway.
He also believes greater efforts should be made to make it aesthetically pleasing.
"It is a major roadway in this parish, there is poor lighting. There is poor drainage, poor road surface and markings and I wonder why Winston Jones can't be an elegant corridor for Manchester," he said at the Manchester Chamber of Commerce's awards banquet at the Golf View Hotel in Mandeville last Saturday.
When asked by the Jamaica Observer to outline his proposal for the highway's beautification, Green pointed to three roundabouts on the roadway.
"I think they are ideally placed. They should be beautified, so if you are coming into Mandeville from the west or you are coming from the east, you would be welcomed with these beautifully decorated roundabouts," he said on Tuesday.
"The stretch of road from down by Williamsfield up to Hatfield should be well lit. The road should be properly paved and marked; it should be debushed and beautified. We see these things in other parishes and they look good, but here the road is poorly lit," he added.
Green, whose office and business is located at the intersection of the highway and Kendal Boulevard, said the road is in dire need of adequate street lights.
"Sometimes trucks break down on the road and they don't have lights on them, which is a serious safety risk. The roads are just dark, it is hard to see, it is a major road in Manchester and maybe the most popular road here, but I think the condition of it is deplorable. I am asking for the highway to be upgraded with adequate marking and for the roundabouts to be beautified," he said.
Green, who is also a former president of the Manchester Chamber of Commerce, further called on the business community to get involved in beautifying the highway.
"It will take a lot to beautify the roadway, but we can do it overtime, [get] businesspeople to come onboard. Get businesses to adopt the roundabouts, a quarter mile and someone else adopts another quarter mile and beautify the stretch of road," he said.
He added that collaboration is needed between the local municipality, National Works Agency, politicians and the business community.
"A partnership between our private sector and the Government, let us come together and beautify the road, it is for us," he said.
With the US$188-million May Pen to Williamsfield leg of Highway 2000 nearing completion for the March 2023 deadline, Green said the beautification work needs to be prioritised to make Mandeville attractive.
"Mandeville is the next major town out of Kingston for persons travelling along the south coast to come to either Manchester, St Elizabeth, Westmoreland or Montego Bay. A lot of traffic comes this way to go to Montego Bay. When they come off the highway, why can't they feel welcomed?" he asked.
He described Mandeville as the capital of central Jamaica.
"But there is nothing welcoming to the parish in terms of beauty in terms of comfort, in terms of just something pretty to see. When you look at Ironshore, it is a beauty driving into Montego Bay, so let us build our parish," Green said.