JIS News

Residents of Portmore, St. Catherine, are to benefit from a number of road improvement projects, which will be undertaken in the new fiscal year that got underway on April 1.

This was disclosed by State Minister in the Ministry of Transport, Works, and Housing, Hon. Richard Azan, following an extensive tour of sections of the Municipality on April 3.

Mr. Azan told JIS News that one of his first priorities is the construction of pedestrian walkways along the Edgewater and Bridgeport bridges.

“We have to immediately do some sidewalks because we also have to think about the pedestrians, who use these roads… and what we see is that at this time they have to use the middle of the road,” he said.

“There is also a hole on the Edgewater bridge that I call an emergency matter and we are going to be dealing with that immediately,” he said.

Mr. Azan further informed that work is to be undertaken on the rehabilitation of the Forum Bridge. He said officers from the National Works Agncy (NWA) will begin their assessments in the coming weeks with the hope that work will begin soon.

“We will have to put in a new structure there, as the one that is there now is depleted and we will have to deal with that urgently,” he stated.

He told JIS News that the Ministry is looking into the construction of a four-lane roadway from Waterford to Bayside.

“Our traffic management team is conducting a study, as we are thinking about (constructing) a four-lane roadway; but that would be in the long-term,” he stated.

He pointed out that a team from the NWA will be conducting an assessment to determine the feasibility of the project, after which a report will be submitted to the Ministry.

Mr. Azan said the plan is for the project to be carried out over a phased basis and will include the cleaning of drains, as well as the rehabilitation of major bridges and roadways in sections of the town.

The tour, which extended from the Waterford Parkway to Bayside, saw the Minister examining sections of the road network and the drainage systems in the communities of Edgewater, Bridgeport, Independence City, and Portmore Parkway.

Mr. Azan appealed to residents to refrain from littering the drains, pointing to evidence of plastic bottles and other debris blocking the systems.

“We are still seeing too many garbage and plastic bottles in the drains; and I think if we allow that to continue, at the first shower of rain, the place will be flooded,” he warned.

State Minister in the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development and Member of Parliament for South East St. Catherine, Hon. Colin, Fagan, who was also on the tour, expressed concern about the state of the roadway along the George Lee Boulevard, and the Edgewater Bridge.

“We have depressions on both sides and the residents are fearful that the bridge will collapse in the not so distant future,” he lamented.

“Each time it rains, we have to ask the NWA to come and do patching. I don’t believe that we can continue to be spending on patching the roads each time it rains, and so we (need the roads to be) rehabilitated,” he stated.

Mayor of Portmore, George Lee, welcomed the projects to be undertaken, particularly the construction of walkways along the major bridges.

Also participating in the tour were Executive Director, Road Maintenance Fund, Clement Watson, as well as representatives of the NWA.

By Athaliah Reynolds-Baker, JIS Reporter

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