St Bess district wants quick fix to ‘death trap’
Residents of Jointwood in St Elizabeth are frustrated with the lack of responsiveness by the State in repairing the road to their community after three sections of the thoroughfare collapsed during last November’s flood rains.
Concerned that the damaged roadway is posing a danger to commuters and pedestrians, they are calling for urgent action to address the situation.
The residents told The Gleaner that except for a tour of the area by Everald Warmington, the Cabinet minister with responsibility for works; St Elizabeth North Eastern Member of Parliament J.C. Hutchinson; and representatives of the National Works Agency (NWA) in the immediate aftermath of the damage, there has been no action.
“This is a disgrace. It is a major roadway, which leads from the parish of St James to St Elizabeth and other parishes, and yet the Government chooses to turn a blind eye to such a dangerous death trap,” businessman Mark Sterling, who lives in the community, told The Gleaner.
“Since dem visit, several persons have been seriously injured. I myself operate a mini-mart in the area, and it is more than once I have to come and help motorists who drive over into the gully because they were not aware of the breakaway,” he added. “If you are not aware of the disaster and do not know that you are to travel in a single lane, you will end up over the gully and might be injured or killed. It is even more [dangerous] at nights because the area is not properly lit.”
When The Gleaner spoke to Howard Hendricks, the NWA’s public relations officer for the region, he confirmed that his team had visited the three breakaway sites and submitted estimates for repairs. He said they are now awaiting a response from Warmington, who is minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation.
“We are aware of three large breakaways in Jointwood ... . We were told to provide estimates, and we submitted estimates. We are waiting to see if there is any funding right now to facilitate repairs,” said Hendricks. “All we can do at this time is wait.”
He added: “We are heading towards the end of the financial year. ... There is now a new supplementary budget, and most of the funding is focused on COVID-19. However, due to the high demand for road repairs, I think something might be in the pipeline from now till March.”
Gleaner attempts to contact Hutchinson failed.