Sat | Feb 22, 2020

Parking lot - Motorists blame NWA for gridlock, say Gov't 's plan flawed

Published:Tuesday | September 11, 2018 | 12:00 AMSyranno Baines/Gleaner Writer
Motorists wait patiently in this traffic jam on Waltham Park Road yesterday.

MOTORISTS AND residents in the Corporate Area have rubbished claims by the National Works Agency (NWA) that unruly motorists were at the heart of the traffic gridlock that brought movement to a standstill for extended hours yesterday.

In a release issued yesterday evening following a meeting with senior engineers and police personnel, NWA communications manager Stephen Shaw indicated that Gretna Green Avenue was of particular concern, as motorists attempted to use the stretch to bypass the traffic on Hagley Park Road which contributed to the long delays at the intersection of Hagley and Waltham Park roads.

Shaw further outlined that access to Waltham Park Road through the Total service station at the intersection of Waltham Park Road and Gretna Green Avenue will be restricted as motorists also used the driveway through the gas station to bypass the traffic.

However, residents of Waltham Park Road have disagreed that indiscipline on the part of motorists caused the congestion, arguing instead that the authorities are just looking for a scapegoat to cover their "failing".

"I would never say that the taxi and minibus drivers follow every road rule but today was so bad and the traffic was so tight, they literally had no room to be unruly," said Sophia McCarthy, a Waltham Park resident.

"What the National Works Agency (NWA) and Government need to recognise is their own failure to plan properly. From I hear in the news last week that down there (Three Miles Intersection) going to close for how many months, I knew this would be the result. You think a Government with a proper plan could tell you that they are closing a major intersection like that till next year only days before? They failed to prepare, so they should prepare to fail," she contended.


More traffic changes


Another resident and taxi operator who goes by the name 'Biggs' expressed similar sentiments.

"A we make we name so easy to call because we have a reputation of not following the road code most times, but this is not one of those times. Me a run taxi over 10 years and I've never encountered anything like this before. What would have taken me 15 minutes take me two and a half hour today (yesterday). Is madness! This can't continue. Somebody clearly never think this through properly and the solution to free flow cannot be more restriction and blocks," he reasoned.

Yesterday, some motorists complained that they had to remain in traffic for up to four hours.

Other traffic changes will include openings in the median along Spanish Town Road, between Majesty Gardens and Penwood Road being closed; access being granted to vehicular traffic along Hagley Park Road from the direction of the intersection of Waltham Park and Hagley Park roads, heading towards Half-Way Tree; and buses operated by the Jamaica Urban Transit Company and franchise operators will be allowed to use Olympic Way and Bay Farm Road to access Spanish Town Road.

Shaw further reminded persons that Henley Avenue and Penwood Road are available for those wishing to travel towards Half-Way Tree from Spanish Town Road.

The closure of the Three Miles Intersection is to further facilitate the major bridge construction project at the location.

The project will also include the widening of the roadway from two to four lanes, the installation of a new sewer system, and also water and storm water drainage features.

Traffic restrictions will remain in effect for eight months.