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JIS News

Minister of Transport and Works Hon. Michael Henry, has refuted suggestions in foreign news media that the accident in which world sprint champion, Usain Bolt, was injured in April on Highway 2000, was caused by potholes on the surface. The Minister said he was sure, as one who commutes regularly via the toll roads, that there was absolutely no pothole anywhere on any section of the toll highways.
“We might have many potholes here in Jamaica, but for the international press to be claiming that we have some on the toll roads is certainly taking things way too far” said Minister Henry.
Bolt, who stunned the world at the Beijing Olympics last year with record-breaking runs in the 100 metres, 200 metres and the 4x100m relay, was involved in an accident in which his 2009 BMW M3 motor car skidded and overturned on a wet Highway 2000 on April 29. He sustained minor foot injuries.
But, in response to the recent spate of accidents along the Clarendon-St. Catherine leg of Highway 2000, Mr. Henry has summoned top officials representing stakeholder entities and agencies relative to the operation of the highway network for discussions.
The talks, which are likely to begin next week, will also involve agencies within the transport ministry which relate to road safety, generally.
Mr. Henry, who had first-hand view of the tragic end to a motorbike collision on the toll road on Sunday (May 3), noted that a number of factors have been raised in respect of safety on the highway, including some which were entirely false. He said, however, that detailed examination and discussion, surrounding the spate of accidents, were warranted and that was his purpose for summoning the stakeholders.
The Minister noted concerns about frequent smoke from fires, especially from burning cane, near the highway. He said that was a legitimate and relevant concern, which had to be addressed, with input from the cane farming community.
He also cited a need for greater public education on the safe use of the toll highways, including matters like tyre standards and the applicable ‘dos and don’t’ on the highway.
The Minister said he intends to broaden the discussions to include road safety in general, as far as his portfolio responsibilities allow.
He said the recently announced tax on gasoline to help fund road maintenance and rehabilitation was a “God-send”, as outside of toll roads, there were many roadways which needed serious rehabilitation to foster road safety and comfort in travelling, which only such an arrangement with dedicated funding could support.
“Better roads will mean more comfortable surfaces to drive on, better fuel economy, lower vehicle maintenance costs and, perhaps most importantly, foster better road safety conditions, as long as good roads are not taken as a licence for excessive speeding, he said.