Sun | Sep 24, 2017

NWA to speed up MoBay bypass plans

Published:Monday | December 5, 2016 | 12:00 AMMark Titus
A section of North South leg of Highway 2000.

Western Bureau:

The National Works Agency (NWA) is now moving swiftly to complete a second traffic study on the proposed Montego Bay bypass after the data, which was initially collected for the study, was among the items that went missing when an employee's motor car was stolen in St Catherine.

"The NWA is redoing the data and it should be completed by the end of the year," a well-placed NWA source, who asked not to be identified, told The Gleaner last week. "There were also two landowners that could not be located for discussions pertaining to the purchasing of property to facilitate the bypass to take place, but that is being worked on earnestly."

DECADEOLD LOBBY

The lobby for a Montego Bay bypass dates back more than a decade as stakeholders consider it a crucial infrastructure in the overall plan to support the billions of dollars in investments, which is expected to flow into the western city over the next four years.

Among the development plans already under consider-ation are a significant increase in the city's housing stock, major developments in the tourism sector and a massive expansion in the business process outsourcing sector. These developments are expected to increase the flow of traffic, hence the need for the bypass to ease the already congested public thoroughfare throughout the city.

"We have said it on several occasions that this infrastructural development is critical to support the continued economic growth of our city, and we can't wait for this to be a reality," said Gloria Henry, president of the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry, in regards to the bypass.

"This will also create opportunities for greater synergies in tourism and agriculture with our neighbouring parishes, and I would also hope that this will be followed by the establishment of a proper transportation network to serve the entire western region," added Henry.

A prominent businessman, whose operation is responsible for about 40 of the heavy-duty trucks that traverse the western region on a weekly basis, says billions of dollars are being lost because of the time it currently takes along the Rose Hall to Reading route, which is usually quite congested..

In addition to the benefits it will bring to heavy-duty truck operators, the bypass is also expected to provide access to several communities, including Cornwall Courts and Flower Hill.