GLENDEVON, St James — Happy with the work done on the $40-million concrete road officially opened in this community on Wednesday, St James North Western Member of Parliament Dr Horace Chang has suggested that skills learnt by residents who worked on the project may come in handy during construction of the Montego Bay bypass road.
The Orchid Road in Quarry was resurfaced through a partnership between Government and Carib Cement, and 40 residents were employed under the supervision of the cement company. General manager of Carib Cement Yago Castro said the Quarry project is one of the biggest of the approximately 50 projects being undertaken by the company across Jamaica as it promotes cement as an alternative material to be used in road construction.
Nadine Brown is a proud resident from the area who worked on the project for a little over a week.
“This road has been so amazing to us in the community. We love it so much. I worked on it for nine days and got my check because I wanted to be a part of the project in my community,” she said.
Brown, who said she mixed mortar and pushed wheelbarrows with material, noted that since the construction of the concrete road, heavy rains came in November but the road was able to withstand the deluge. Residents, she said, are in love with the road and would get up in the mornings and try to keep it clean “like a piece of furniture”.
For Shirley Riddle, the smooth surface of the redone road has provided much-needed relief from the potholes which were there before.
“We used to suffer because we couldn't walk on the road good. We have to pay driver extra fi to carry we in. If you work at night, no driver nuh want to fi come in because dem seh a bad road,” she explained.
However, one resident, who opted not to provide his name, pointed to the absence of sidewalks as well as the curbs and channels that would help ensure that flooding and water damage is minimised. However, he was assured by a relative, who was the liaison officer for the project, that material is in place for those aspects of the project to be completed.
Mayor of Montego Bay Leeroy Williams, who is the councillor for the Montego Bay North Division — often referred to as the Glendevon Division — also gave an assurance that minor work left to be done will be completed shortly. Williams said he was happy that residents, for the first time, will be getting a durable road that can withstand flooding.
This is the third time, in recent times, he said, that the road is being repaired after floodwater from the hills damaged the surface.
According to Carib Cement's industrial and building solutions manager, André Nelson, the resurfaced road has a 10-year lifespan.
“It means that, after 10 years you may have to come in and do sealing of some cracks or maybe some patch or something like that. But, after 10 years, the road would not have been rendered structurally unsound. The road can last up to 40 years with some maintenance,” he said.
Dr Chang, meanwhile, had high praise for the work done.
“This demonstrates the quality of your product and how it can be used effectively to mitigate against climate change impact and maintain the quality of infrastructure which we as a Government are pursuing,” he said to the Carib Cement officials at the opening ceremony.
“Because the reality is that a country will only develop and we can only get growth in the economy, provide the opportunities for employment and give our people a better quality of life and bring a level of improved prosperity to everyone around if we have the quality infrastructure. Wherever roads go, development comes,” added Dr Chang.