Mon | Jan 21, 2019

Welcome relief - Commuters willing to stand inconvenience for upgrade of Constant Spring Road

Published:Thursday | February 15, 2018 | 12:00 AMSyranno Baines/Gleaner Writer
Work under way yesterday to widen Constant Spring Road in St Andrew.
Coaster bus driver ‘Smile Orange’ welcomes the upgrade of Constant Spring Road.
Work under way yesterday to widen Constant Spring Road in St Andrew.

While acknowledging that the road-widening project now under way along Constant Spring Road in St Andrew will be an inconvenience, the main regret expressed by motorists, commuters, and operators of public passenger vehicles is that the planned 14-month project to turn the heavily travelled corridor into four lanes did not start sooner, this as some who traverse the popular roadway on a daily basis likened the traffic during peak hours to "a scene from hell".

"If I leave town at 5 o'clock, I'm not reaching Constant Spring before 7 o'clock," 'Short Man', a decades-long Coaster bus driver who plies the downtown Kingston to Constant Spring and Stony Hill route told The Gleaner.

"From you reach Mary Brown's Corner, it a take you at least one and a half hours to get into Constant Spring. So it really slows up the work. No money nah make 'cause by time we fi go back a Half-Way Tree to town, a late hours of the night and the work done. So me love what a gwan. It a go cause a little traffic jam, but a fi di best, and it was long time coming."

Another long-time public transport operator, who goes by the name 'Smile Orange', shared his colleague's view, stating that the daily frustration among his passengers is palpable.

The veteran Coaster bus driver added that he suffers due to his adherence to road rules.




"What you find is that because of the congestion, a lot of the drivers will make all a third lane, so they tend to get the benefits. As a man doing this thing for 20 years, I see it as a good move to widen the road, get some more lanes. Is a new age, and if we not looking at the future, it pointless. So, bear the pain now and reap the benefits later," he reasoned.

Commuter Sharon McLeod, a long-time resident of Parks Road in St Andrew, said: "It's the most difficult thing to take a bus at 5 or 6 in the evenings. You're not moving for two hours or more, so I welcome the roadwork."

Motorist Sing Chin expressed optimism that the project would yield other benefits in addition to allowing free-flowing traffic.

"They're going to put in the sewer line also, and we need sewer lines up there. All the way up Manor Park, Norbrook, there are no sewer lines, and you can't have development without that," said the senior citizen.


... Roadwork to have no immediate impact on traffic


The major upgrade of the Constant Spring Road in St Andrew, which commenced on Monday, will be confined to the verges of the roadway in the early stages and is not expected to directly affect traffic at this time. The construction is currently taking place in the vicinity of the Constant Spring Golf Club.

Four kilometres of the heavily trafficked corridor between the Red Hills-Eastwood Park roads intersection to Manor Park will be reconstructed over the next 14 months.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, manager of communication and customer services at the National Works Agency Stephen Shaw said that the road would be kept open and the number of travel lanes would be maintained during the project, with traffic diversions from time to time.

He said that the public would be kept updated as the project progressed, while reminding motorists that delays cannot be avoided.

Persons are being advised to make travel plans bearing in mind the likely impact over the next 14 months.




Some of the benefits once the project has been completed include:

- widening of the roadway from two lanes to four, with sidewalks and concrete median;

- construction of right-turning lanes at select intersections;

- improved intersections with upgraded and new traffic signals and pedestrian facilities;

- widening of Manor Park Gully Bridge to accommodate two lanes;

- spot improvements at the junction of Old Stony Hill Road and Long Lane, as well as at Stillwell Road;

- construction of bus lay-bys;

- improvement of stormwater drainage systems;

- improvement of National Water Commission water mains and sewerage systems.