Residents happy with Andrew Hill road repairTuesday, September 28, 2021
MAY PEN, Clarendon — Residents of Andrew Hill in Clarendon north western are breathing a sigh of relief following the completion of a $5-million road rehabilitation project there.
The 600 metres of road links communities such as Nine Turns, Sheckles, Leicesterfield and Barns Pass to the town of Frankfield, and also provides access to the cemetery as well as the health centre.
Irvine Waithe, a senior citizen who has lived in the community for more than 20 years, is among those grateful for the development.
“I feel so good now that this road has been fixed. It was at a state where most vehicles couldn't pass through this community and there were less and less taxis using this route,” he told the Jamaica Observer.
The shoddy road conditions had made getting to church a challenge for Waithe, as he had been forced to take a much longer route. Now, said Waithe, he simply walks up the road to get to the place of worship.
The road is now so busy his sleep is interrupted at night, but he doesn't mind. It's a trade-off he's willing to take for a decent road. He has also noticed that the quality of vehicles passing by has improved since the road has been fixed.
“Mi see some pretty vehicle! Mi never know dem did a set fi come drive a Andrew Hill; I feel so good and everybody glad for it. I only hope that the road will be kept in good condition so that it will last us for a long time,” he said.
Waithe suggested that the councillor uses the Government's lengthman programme to maintain the cross drains, which will prevent flooding and water damage to the roadway. The 'length man' programme was first announced by Prime Minister Andrew Holness in his address to the 2019 annual conference of the ruling Jamaica Labour Party at the National Arena in St Andrew. Holness had said it would “employ people who have not benefited from the Government's prosperity programme”.
The concept, the Government explained later, is that an individual would be employed to maintain a specified length of road in the area that he resides.
However, in May this year, Minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation Everald Warmington assured the House of Representatives that the programme was slated to come on stream in coming months.
He said that with an initial budget of $500 million, the pilot for the programme will have four components: visual inspections, preventative maintenance, mapping of road assets, and environmental stewardship.
Some 62 corridors were identified for the pilot, among them Dunrobin Avenue in St Andrew, Twickenham Park Road in St Catherine, Washington Boulevard, also in St Andrew, and the entire length of the Mandela Highway.
Meanwhile, a taxi operator from Andrew Hill, who gave his name only as Tim, said he is also thankful for the renewed surface. He expects that it will ease the burden on his pocket.
“It makes driving a lot more comfortable and easier, especially given the hilly terrain of this community. We will save on vehicle parts and the passengers can't complain again seh the journey rough,” he told the Observer.
Kenneth, another resident, sees the road repairs as a sign that their community is a step closer to being well developed.
“Wi glad fi di road, man, it nice. Wi only want water in this district fi wi comfort and wi alright. Wi get wi nice, pretty road that even the police can come through and patrol without hesitation, because I remember one time nothing couldn't come round here and look now – wi have nice pretty road. We have streetlights and so we just want the water now and we good up here,” he said.
Councillor Clive Mundle (Jamaica Labour Party, Frankfield Division) explained that the road had been in a terrible condition for many years.
“We at the Clarendon Municipal Corporation chose to rehabilitate this road along with the assistance of the Member of the Parliament Phillip Henriques because Andrew Hill is a fairly big community with quite a few residents. Other communities also benefit from this stretch of road because the main road to Frankfield is not in the best condition, so persons from adjoining communities opt to use this road to go about their business,” he said.
Mundle, who is also the deputy mayor of May Pen, added that since the road has been rehabilitated the area has seen an increase in traffic and economic activity.
“The residents are very happy for the road because there was a time when no vehicle could drive on this road. Farmers will now have it easier to move their crops, and small business operators and entrepreneurs can go to and from the main town centre to purchase goods and raw material for the services they provide. Comparing what this road was and what it is today, it really is a blessing. This is a wonderful project and I'm really happy and elated about it,” he said.