JIS News

Stakeholders involved in repairs currently being effected on a section of the Portmore leg of Highway 2000, in St. Catherine, say the safety of all users of that corridor was prioritised, when alternative traffic arrangements were being planned.
Members of the Portmore Citizens Advisory Council (PCAC) have expressed concern over what they describe as inadequate attention by the relevant agencies to ensure the safety of all users in the vicinity of the project area.
At a meeting of the agencies and the PCAC at the Toll Authority’s Portmore office on August 21, Operations and Maintenance Manager at Jamaica Infrastructure Operator Limited (JIO), Desmond Levy, said the PCAC’s concerns were “factored in” early, during the planning stage of the construction arrangement.
He informed that specially painted red and white barriers, incorporated into the concrete separation, which have been strategically positioned along the roadway, are part of the safety feature.
“In case there are any mishaps, we can remove those quickly, close one lane that is not as highly occupied as the others, without disrupting the traffic too much,” Mr. Levy said.
He pointed out that the Traffic Division of the Jamaica Constabulary Force has undertaken to increase its presence on the highway, pointing to speed as a factor contributing to the occurrence of accidents along the corridor, particularly involving public passenger vehicles.
“The statistics show that the problems are caused by the buses rushing into Portmore. We need to have control of speeding along the Portmore corridor, and to the extent that we will have greater assistance from the police, then that would tend to reduce the likelihood of any accidents, and the delays that you associate with those accidents,” Mr. Levy said.
Mr. Levy was supported by Technical Manager at the National Road Operating and Constructing Company (NROCC), Desmond Martin, who also addressed the meeting.
Mr. Martin informed that in a bid to effect some measure of control on the highway, the speed limit has been reduced from 70 kilometres per hour to 50 kilometres per hour.
He urged representatives of the PCAC in attendance, headed by Chairman, Winston Wright, to assist in sensitising the residents, particularly motorists, on the need for caution, when driving.
“We will do what is necessary from our side, as best as we can, and we will try to point out what we are doing, in response to your concerns. But, we need your help as well,” Mr. Martin said.
In an interview with JIS News, Chief Executive Officer of the Toll Authority, Joan Fletcher, pointed out that data collated since the repairs commenced, do not support claims by some persons that the work has contributed to the occurrence of accidents.
“In fact, the accident rate has remained as it was before. So, I think it does come down to motorists just using the toll road, and particularly the section where the repairs are occurring.obeying the speed limit and just exercising caution,” she said.
The repairs are being carried out by highway developers, French firm, Bouygues, in the vicinity of the Kingston port, to correct a depression. The work, being executed in two phases, will see the first, which entails repairs to the eastbound lanes, being completed by August 31.
The second phase, which will focus on the westbound lanes, is scheduled to begin on August 27 and end in December. The cost of the repairs is being offset by Bouygues.

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