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Portmore toll road to get repairs

Published:Thursday | March 11, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Philip Hamilton, Gleaner Writer

THE NATIONAL Road Operating and Constructing Company (NROCC) is to carry out urgently needed repairs to sections of the Portmore, St Catherine, leg of Highway 2000 starting May.

The repairs, which will take place over a five-month period, are necessary in order to correct undulating sections of the roadway, mostly within the vicinity of Gordon Cay.

Ivan Anderson, NROCC's managing director, yesterday told members of the Public Adminis-tration and Appropriations Com-mittee that the work will involve laying down a completely new road surface in the affected sections.

The repair costs were not disclosed.

Anderson said that the roadway's developers, TransJamaican Highway, had carried out interim repairs to the affected sections in keeping with the contractual agreement between NROCC and the company.

No safety issues

Responding to questions from committee member Fitz Jackson concerning the safety of motorists using the highway in its current condition, Anderson said the road's maximum speed limit of 70 kilometres per hour posed no safety issues at this time.

However, Jackson and several committee members expressed concern over the poor road conditions, pointing out that the Jamaican people were paying for a service they were not receiving.

He said motorists using the Portmore leg of Highway 2000, particularly Class 1 users, had been subject to a 100 per cent increase in toll fees over the last two years.

"We were led to believe from discussions with the toll operators that Portmore toll users would get a concessionary rate because of frequent use. However, it is not reflected here," said Jackson, whose St Catherine South constituency is within Portmore.

Anderson responded by indicating that a study was being conducted to assess the impact of a reduction in toll rates.

No redress in penalty system

He said the Portmore toll fees, which had been subsidised in 2007, had resulted in a significant, yet unusual reduction in toll rates. However, the rates were increased in 2008 following the removal of the subsidies.

Anderson also pointed out that while certain penalties would be applied to TransJamaican Highway with regard to maintenance issues involving the Portmore toll road, they did not allow for a reduction in toll rates.

However, Fitz Jackson noted the penalty system offered no redress to users paying what he described as toll charges imposed to use a substandard road, a matter that Anderson promised to address.

philip.hamilton@gleanerjm.com