Mon | Jan 22, 2018

Caymanas to Moneague, Beautiful and Breathtaking

Published:Tuesday | March 15, 2016 | 12:00 AMBarbara Ellington
Some sections of the road are breathtaking, inviting you to stop and drink in the picturesque views.
At Unity Valley, there will be bathrooms, food stalls and even an area where disabled vehicles can be repaired.
The section of the toll road that runs past the Caymanas Estate.

To fully appreciate the splendour of the landscape along the recently opened stretch of highway spanning Caymanas Estate, St Catherine, to Moneague in St Ann, motorists and their passengers should lock their cell phones inside the trunks of their vehicles.

If you subtract the stops to pay the toll, conduct brief interviews, and take pictures, the journey will take just about 45 minutes. Indeed, a philandering man could pop over to Ochi for a lunchtime 'move' and convince his boss that he had gone on legitimate business round town.

A good portion of the new road cuts past the otherwise quiet residential community of Caymanas Estates, whose citizens protested its intrusion loudly. Other formal and informal hamlets punctuate the hillsides on both sides of the highway in both parishes. A carload of curious natives can be seen pausing to drink in the sights beyond and below them. This is reminiscent of tourists who pay for a similar activity in neighbouring Cuba at the Valle De ViÒales. We pray for such vision here.

High up in the hills of St Ann, you become one with the surrounding egg-tray topography, getting a feeling of peeling back the pages of Jamaica to reveal interesting and heretofore hidden chapters of picturesque mysteries. And motorists are warned about the fog at nightfall by clearly posted signs.

Vehicles in good shape require high gear to ascend with ease, and as you descend from the Bog Walk area, acres of citrus orchards and cane fields lie in carefully manicured rows.

No doubt, the long-term negative impact on the environment of the engineers and construction crews' disturbance of the virgin territory will not occupy the minds of those who want to reach their destinations in a hurry, but acres of cleared forest and gaping spaces in the ground and limestone hillsides will, in time, unleash nature's fury.

One can only hope that the necessary precautions were taken and adequate compensation is in place for those who will be directly affected. Bauxite mining has also had its effects on sections of the two parishes not far from the highway. Sadly, we noticed pedestrians crossing the busy highway and entire herds of goats sauntering along, oblivious to the traffic flow.

Not much road signage is in place. Neither are there adequate speed limit indicators, but traffic cops are busy stopping offenders. The rest stop at Unity Valley will include bathrooms, a place to fix disabled vehicles and to purchase refreshment.