Three Miles bypass delayed - NWA confident new road will be ready shortly, but workmen say not so
The planned bypass road to move motorists around the closed Portia Simpson Miller Square in St Andrew is now one week behind schedule and there is no firm indication as to when it will be ready.
In September, with the closure of Portia Simpson Miller Square and work on other major corridors in the Corporate Area leading to traffic gridlock in the city, Prime Minister Andrew Holness announced plans to construct the new two-lane road starting from Chesterfield Drive in Seaview Gardens, to link Spanish Town Road with Marcus Garvey Drive.
At that time, Holness said it would take about five weeks for the construction of the US$1 million link road.
But when The Sunday Gleaner checked last week we found an unpaved and uneven road surface, no drainage, no curb walls, with dirt and rubble on the side of the road under construction.
Workmen on the project estimated that getting the road ready for Christmas would be an optimistic projection.
"This won't be able to finish any time soon. Maybe all next year before people get to use this area, too much things around here to do, trust me," said one of several workmen gathered at a shop on Chesterfield Drive in Seaview Gardens.
"And then look, dem widen up the top of the road. This new road that is building wide, but Chesterfield drive, the road leading into Seaview (Gardens) is the same size. I really want to see how this will manage the volume of traffic," added another worker.
NEVER ON THE CARDS
But Stephen Shaw, communication manager at the National Works Agency, was more confident.
"I drove there last Monday and base work was significantly up, the shoulders are being put together. So they should be moving towards doing asphalt and concrete work very soon," said Shaw.
He noted that the widening of Chesterfield Drive was never on the cards.
"There wasn't any plan to do any major widening on that road. Work is supposed to be done out at the intersection so motorists have a proper turn-in, but we wouldn't be able to do everything at the same time," said Shaw.
He argued that there will be traffic signals to control the flow of traffic to the area and prevent any bottlenecks. "Once persons obey we shouldn't have an issue," he added.
Under the plan announced by the Government, drains in the area will be improved with the installation of pipe culverts along the road. There will also be an overlay of 700 metres of the Chesterfield Drive stretch and the construction of a 1.5 metre-wide sidewalk along the road.
But even with the road under construction some motorists, mainly taxi and coaster bus operators, have started to drive through a dirt track in the area, which is serving as an informal bypass.
"You have to do what you have to do, boss," said one coaster bus driver as he navigated the bumpy track and entered on to the dusty unfinished roadway last Thursday.