Too early to tell
No data yet on North-South Highway leg use
Chad Bryan, Gleaner Writer
After less than a month of paid use, it is too early to start compiling data on the number of vehicles utilising the leg of the North-South Highway which bypasses Mount Rosser, technical services director of the National Road Operating and Construction Company (NROCC), Stephen Shaw, has said.
Shaw added, however, that the roadway has been operating as expected, reducing travel time between Linstead, St Catherine, and Moneague, St Ann, by up to 40 per cent.
Early last month, the highway segment was opened, offering motorists free passage until early September. The roadway is the first of the three legs of the North-South link of Highway 2000 to be completed.
Since the opening some motorists complained that they developed mechanical problems because of the highway's steep incline. The All-Island Truckers Association of Jamaica also protested about the $1,000 toll fee class three vehicles are required to pay, which is coupled with already high costs.
However, according to Shaw, complaints appear to have somewhat waned, as he has not been receiving any. In August, a number of organisations, including the National Road Safety Council (NRSC), declared the roadway safe after an inspection tour.
Representatives of Zoukie Trucking, the island's largest container transportation com-pany, have expressed dissatisfaction over not being able to utilise toll cards or tags, as well as the narrowness of Mount
Rosser back to Linstead leg.
"We use this every day. The Mount Rosser side coming back to Linstead is too narrow. You can go through with wide load, but coming back from Mount Rosser, the toll booth is too narrow. The other section, Linstead to Mount Rosser, is fine," the Zoukie representative said.
NO TOLL TAgS
He added that "the toll tags that we have cannot be used there, and they don't use the toll cards. They are proposing that we purchase requisition books". However, he said, requisition books are primitive.
Shaw explained that multiple trucks have been driving on the new roadway and that a wider lane can be created to accommodate trucks carrying large cargo. "If there is extra-wide load, A barrier can be adjusted to facilitate movement. Calling ahead to notify the toll plaza can also be done," he said.
On the issue of using tags and cards, Shaw stated that when the other legs of the highway - Caymanas to Linstead and Moneague to Ocho Rios - are completed by 2016, then toll tags will be implemented.