Sat | Mar 25, 2017

Highway to ... the garage?

Published:Monday | August 18, 2014 | 8:00 AM
Daviot Kelly
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Growing up I vaguely remember a series called Highway to Heaven, starring the late Michael Landon.

Now when the Linstead to Moneague leg of the North South was declared open, many motorists thought this was the highway to heavenly bliss. Mount Rosser, so often the scourge of many a driver, whether descending or ascending its curvy turns, would now be obsolete. No more fretting about being stuck for hours because a truck jack-knifed. Adieu to long lines caused by another truck breaking down. Adios to cars heading over the precipices and into persons' homes on the hillside below. The promised land had been attained.

However, things just don't go according to plan in Jamaica, do they? No sooner than the hallowed highway was open did the complaints start to go up to those in high places from sections of the motoring public. First, it was the cost of the toll. Those wrapping up in sackcloth and ashes praying for a reduction were, as usual, the truck drivers. The usual refrain of "it's too high" came once the ribbon had been cut. Then, of course, the Faith's Pen people really broke out the tissue and handkerchiefs because they envisioned hard times. Cobwebs and dust shall replace the chicken and pork in their food shops.

But now the worst bit. It turns out the highway is literally a 'high way' to get from one point to the next. I can't believe I didn't think of it before. If you're cutting out a hilly route then surely the alternate route is going to involve some level of elevation. Duh! But it's only after seeing drivers trying to traverse it that I truly appreciate that piece of logic. I didn't mean to be insensitive, but I found it slightly funny to see people, some of whom probably prayed for the road's completion, pulled over to the side of the road, filling their radiators. So both vehicles and drivers were getting heated.

From what I've gathered, your vehicle needs to be in good working order to make the heavenly trek. Well, with all the creaks, squeaks, groans and rattles I've been hearing from Buster recently, this highway will not be making his acquaintance. I don't head to the north coast very often, and when I do, I mostly use the good old Junction corridor that links rural St Andrew to St Mary and beyond.

Granted, that's not exactly a smooth carpet either. And when it rains, look out for the rocks tumbling down from the hilltops.

But that's exactly where I will keep going. Can't tek di embarrassment (shut off pon highway?!) and mi nuh have it fi pay toll, much less buy better car. So depending on the circumstances, the longer route it shall be. Mount Rosser, here I come Faith's Pen, two pound a pork. please! Lata.

daviot.kelly@gleanerjm.com