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Concerns raised over road construction in Portmore - Multimillion-dollar project said to be on target

Published:Sunday | July 14, 2019 | 12:36 AMRuddy Mathison - Gleaner Writer

Portmore Mayor Leon Thomas
Portmore Mayor Leon Thomas

The completion of the $249 million project to upgrade and expand Port Henderson Drive from Naggo Head to Bayside in the municipality of Portmore to four lanes is on target for the announced August 31 deadline; however, concerns are being raised about some last-minute changes to the original design.

“I heard that there are plans to maintain the existing Naggo Head Square instead of using the original design that would change the square as it now exists. Also, there are plans to maintain the roundabout at Bayside, which was not part of the original plan,” Portmore Mayor Leon Thomas told The Sunday Gleaner.

“If this is the case, it doesn’t make sense to put in four lanes because we would not have solved the congestion problem. All we would do is take the traffic from one end of Port Henderson Drive and dump it at the other end.”

He said he was also informed that plans to upgrade the service road in front of the business community along Port Henderson Drive have been scrapped.

“However, neither the NWA (National Works Agency) nor the contractors have indicated that the August 31 deadline has changed. My technical team and I have scheduled a meeting for next week with representatives of the NWA and the contractors to ensure that there are no surprises,” Thomas said.

The mayor said there is still a lingering problem with the National Water Commission and the positioning of its main sewerage.

“I want this problem addressed because I will not have them digging up the road after it is paved,” he said.

So far, two lanes of the new roadway have been paved and the others are being prepared for paving.

SLOW PACE

Residents in the Portmore municipality had expressed concerns over the slow pace of the work, highlighting the delays and hardships they are experiencing, especially accessing businesses in the area due to the ongoing roadwork.

A number of business owners in the Port Henderson Plaza and other businesses situated along that stretch also lamented the reduction in business as a result of the road construction project.

Two additional lanes to facilitate four lanes of traffic – two running south and two in a northerly direction from Bayside to Naggo Head; the construction of proper drainage; the upgrading of the access road to businesses; and the inclusion of four traffic signals are included in the multimillion-dollar project.

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