Wed | Sep 20, 2017

Disgraceful main roads

Published:Saturday | March 19, 2016 | 3:00 AM

Journeying from Kingston to Whitehouse in Westmoreland recently, I really felt sorry for the punishment meted out to the vehicle in which I was travelling. Dangerous potholes, some filled with water, were just about a normal part of the route for

the entire journey, but what took the cake were the segments between Clarendon Park and Porus, Mandeville to the top of Spur Tree Hill, Gutters to Lacovia, and Holland Bamboo to Whitehouse.

I have travelled those roads for more than 50 years and have never seen them in that disgraceful condition.

One question: Is there a recognised standard for the construction of roads in Jamaica?

A significant part of the problem is that roads are not done to satisfactory standards, therefore, they do not last, and the Government does not seem to insist on warranties from the contractors.

 

Spur Tree Hill and South Coast Roads

On the journey, I saw a fatal accident in which a truck fell over a deep precipice while failing to negotiate a deep corner. This was only the latest of several fatal accidents on that hill over the years, some involving persons known to me.

Most of the trucks, laden with about everything from cement to petrol and sugar cane, are forced to use this road. A mechanical or human failure could be disastrous.

Several years ago, it was suggested that sand traps be built to capture some of the runaway vehicles, but, as usual, that was not done. It takes foreigners to do that, as demonstrated on the new Mt Rosser road, because we are in the habit of not listening to our own local experts.

Construction was well under way on a south coast road from Milk River to Alligator Pond when the project was halted immediately after the change of government in 1972. The idea was that heavy trucks would be diverted from Melrose and Spur Tree Hill roads on to the coast road.

Immature political practice and lack of foresight may be guilty of taking the lives of those who perish on Spur Tree Hill. I do hope the new Government will revive this project.

Other benefits, such as south coast tourism and other land and agricultural developments, could be opened up in the near future, adding to job creation.

TREVOR SAMUELS

tasamuels@cwjamaica.com