‘This is ridiculous!’ - Road users angry about three-year-old pothole, water settlements on Howard Cooke Boulevard
Residents who regularly use the roadways of Montego Bay, St James, are calling for urgent attention to be given to a gaping pothole in the road and pools of water that settle along the Howard Cooke Boulevard, which present a danger to road users.
The hole is located along a section of the roadway’s bridge in the vicinity of the downtown district’s popular Baywest Shopping Centre, and has been there for at least three years. At the same time, pools of water have settled on the road’s surface near the Closed Harbour Beach, more popularly known as the Dump-up Beach, only a few metres away.
Kristina Hylton, who regularly drives along that road to get to work, said the water on the road appears to have become more pronounced since the beginning of development work at the Dump-up Beach.
“I’m wondering if the water on the road is because of the work that was going on at Dump-up. A passer-by cursed me one day because I accidentally splashed her while I was driving near there,” Hylton recalled. “It’s ridiculous, and they need to do something about it, because it seems to have gotten worse since the construction started there.”
Kamika Warren, a pedestrian, said that the pothole on the bridge has forced drivers to manoeuvre around it on a regular basis. She also noted that the water settling on the road leads to the creation of more potholes.
“I observed recently that vehicles appear to slow down when driving over the large pothole on the bridge, so that pothole negatively affects the speed of vehicles. Plus, there are many other potholes on the bridge, all caused by water settling on the road, so water has clearly damaged the road on the bridge,” said Warren.
Both issues have been highlighted at a time when 16 named storms have been predicted for the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season, which started on June 1 and ends on November 30. That prediction was made by the Colorado State University’s Tropical Weather Project team in the United States, which projected that eight hurricanes and four major hurricanes will be included among the 16 storms, with gusts of wind going at 100 kilometres an hour or more.
If any major storm were to affect Jamaica at this time, the problems highlighted about the Howard Cooke Boulevard would likely contribute to flooding, similar to that which affected sections of Montego Bay during heavy rains in November 2017. The flooding at that time was worsened by heavy water flow in the vicinity of the North Gully, which runs past Baywest and the Dump-up Beach.
When contacted, Janel Ricketts, the community relations officer at the National Works Agency’s western regional office, said that a repair-work programme will be put in place to address the concerns about the Howard Cooke Boulevard. However, she could not give a timeline for when that programme will begin.
“There is a programme that is coming up now in terms of drainage, and the potholes will be addressed as soon as we have a patching programme to deal with them. In terms of the drainage issue, that situation is being evaluated,” said Ricketts. “I am not able to give you a timeline for it right now, but it is an area that we’re looking into.”