Tue | Sep 18, 2018

People's Report: Overhaul dangerous Porus road

Published:Saturday | June 20, 2015 | 12:00 AM

The road between Clarendon Park and Whitney Turn, near Porus, must rank among the dangerous roads of Jamaica. It is not only dangerous for motorists, but for pedestrians as well, and more so for the children coming from or going to school.

The danger is multiplied at night, especially when the oncoming motorists selfishly refuse to dip their headlights, or when a disabled truck is parked at one of the numerous corners without lights or warning signs.

This heavily used section of road has now become a bottleneck on the southern Jamaica road network road through Mandeville, and since the P.J. Patterson Highway is not likely to be extended to that area in the near future, priority attention must now be given to that segment to improve safety and efficiency of passage.

It is a frightening experience to come face to face with one of the numerous trailers using the road, especially those hauling cane to Appleton Estate during the cane-harvesting season, in addition to the regular fuel tankers and cement trailers. The hissing of air brakes and near missing of rear wheels around the curves are enough to cause a loss of nerves and control over other bodily functions.

It is obvious that that road was not built for modern traffic. It has not been significantly improved since my grandfather's dray used to traverse that segment, and certainly I have not witnessed any great improvement in my 60-odd years of frequent use of that road.

One morning on my way to Mandeville, the road was blocked by an overloaded trailer transporting sand. The alternative route was via Pusey Hill, adding several miles to the journey. One night, I had to go through an unknown detour for similar reason. In the best of times, you may be unlucky to be caught behind a slow-moving, overloaded, cement-hauling trailer. So if you are already late for your appointment, prepare to be much later.

It is said that many of our roads were engineered by cattle, and this must be one of them, because this was obviously an old-time cattle trail.

It is unlikely that serious development can take place in central and western Jamaica with road infrastructure such as that with the railway being closed.

Resurfacing that road with a thin layer of asphalt will only be a waste of money. Serious re-engineering needs to be done to make a proper road capable of handling the demands of heavy-duty vehicles.

Quick action may prevent the unnecessary loss of life.

Trevor Samuels

President, National Consumers League