August Town yearns for reopening of Sir John Golding Road
More than two and a half years since a huge crater forced the closure of Sir John Golding Road in St Andrew, motorists and residents of August Town are hoping they will regain access to the thoroughfare early in the new year.
The road had been ordered closed to vehicular traffic in May 2018 after a pipe culvert collapsed in the vicinity of the Hope Valley Experimental Primary and Infant School.
In March 2019, the Government approved a $63-million contract to effect repairs to the roadway to include the construction of a retaining structure, the replacement of a burnt-out pipe culvert, river-training works, and paving of roads. Sidewalk construction and the installation of guardrails were also said to be important components of the project.
The works were projected to be completed within six months to restore two-way access to several institutions located along Sir John Golding Road and to August Town.
Last week, elderly August Town resident Isaiah Grant said he was anxious for the reopening of the roadway, which has been repaired for the most part but remains inaccessible.
“It look like it done in a sense. In the first instance, they said they would finish it. They started, but because of the destruction from the rainfall, they had to restart again,” he said, adding that it seemed ready for reopening. “As far as I see, it can run on like a runway.”
Grant is concerned, however, that a section of the roadway needs guardrails or a wall to reduce risk to danger for pedestrians, including children.
“Up deh so now, it need some form of protection, right at the side of the curve wall. Can’t leave it so. Remember say one school up deh suh,” he said, referring to Hope Valley Experimental. “Pickney a pass and rude pickney go push one, you see the danger?”
Taxi operators who operate on the August Town to Papine route have argued that they are being seriously impacted by the closure, saying that the alternative route – Mona Road – is inconvenient, costly, and has more than doubled the route.
One taxi operator told The Gleaner that at times, they take a chance going through The University of the West Indies, Mona campus, but they are occasionally caught and reprimanded.
“Right now everybody glad and a wait. Dem need fi open it now,” the taxi operator said. “We need it fi the 2021 and early. Right now, anything we can save good fi we. Hard, hard time now.”
T he Gleaner was unable to reach National Works Agency communications point man Stephen Shaw for an update on the project.
Citing many inconveniences to the prolonged closure, residents staged a protest for its reopening last August.