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Falmouth traffic fears as Tharpe Street to be dug up again

Published:Wednesday | March 6, 2019 | 12:00 AMLeon Jackson/Gleaner Writer


Business and civic interests in Falmouth are fearing a traffic nightmare with the imminent closure of a major thoroughfare that was expected to offset gridlock after access to the Rock Bridge was blocked because of safety concerns.

New pipes will have to be laid to stave off a sewage crisis affecting businesses and homes.

“It has become necessary because the water table in the town is very high and the construction boom is putting pressure on the existing sewage-disposal system,” explained Falmouth Mayor Collen Gager in an interview with The Gleaner recently.

The Tourism Enhancement Fund will be providing J$25 million towards the laying of the sewerage pipes, which will be linked to the treatment plant located in the Falmouth Gardens section of the town.

While the rectifying of the sewerage woes is good news for persons like Andrea Humphrey, the operator of Humphrey’s Plaza, which is regularly affected by a backflow of effluent, it’s a heavy hit for taxpayers, as just last year, $107 million was spent on Tharpe Street to construct drainage infrastructure, resurface the road, and build sidewalks.

“It is short-sightedness by the authorities why Tharpe Street has to be dug up again,” said Delroy Christie, president of the Trelawny Chamber of Commerce. “I have been preaching that the sewerage problem in Falmouth will not be solved until a central sewage system is constructed, but they wouldn’t listen to me.”

However, Humphrey, who links her sewage problems to the construction of the cruise ship pier in the Trelawny capital, said she is looking forward to the day when she will no longer have to be forking out J$27,000 to cesspool operators to clean her pit after the arrival of each mega cruiseliner.

“It could not come too early for me,” said Humphrey. “When the pier was being constructed in 2008, I was promised that sewage from the plaza would be linked to the pier’s sewerage system. This was never done, and I have been taken to court when raw sewage flowed from my establishment.”

The laying of pipelines on Tharpe Street will also affect operations at the Trelawny Fire Brigade, which is also located on Tharpe Street.

“Our response time will once again be affected negatively,” said Superintendent Roland Walters, who heads the fire brigade in Falmouth. “I hope the closure will not be as long as the last time.”