Wed | Aug 4, 2021

Quarry residents welcome asphalt concrete roads

Published:Friday | July 2, 2021 | 12:09 AMAlbert Ferguson/Gleaner Writer


Residents of Quarry district in St James have welcomed the decision to have Caribbean Cement Company (CCCL) rehabilitate the main road leading into their community, using asphalt concrete, which is believed to be excellent in preventing erosion, often caused by flooding.

According to Micheal Henry, a resident of Quarry, the condition of the road in the community has reached a deplorable state and he is delighted that it is to undergo repairs.

“The concrete road will be better, because once the drain is running well, the water won’t get to dig it up, even if it flows over,” Henry told The Gleaner during a recent tour of the area by Dr Horace Chang, the member of parliament (MP) for St James North West, where the community is located.

Senior managers from CCCL were on the tour with Chang to get a first-hand look at the roads to be rehabilitated.

While embracing the upgrading of the roadway using asphalt concrete, Joycelyn McKenzie, a senior citizen, raised concerns over the depth of the drain as it relates to carrying the large body of floodwater generated in the community whenever its rains heavily.

“What about the gutter to carry the water when it rains?” asked McKenzie. “The gutter can’t carry all the water when it rains, what are they going to do about it?”

Interestingly, Chang agreed with McKenzie that the storm-water drains would overflow its banks, given the volume of water gushing from areas such as Montego Hills and Norwood, two communities that have expanded significantly in recent years.

“We are now looking at a solution which, fortunately, the cement company has come on board and offers to use cement to demonstrate how we can fix roads of this nature. Cement with the right mix, properly done, will withstand that type of flooding,” said Chang.

The MP, who is also the minister of security, said when the roads were being built, there were not many homes in the Montego Hills/Norwood areas, so the forestry there prevented a heavy flow downstream.

“So they (residents) built their homes quite safely, but as the community expanded and more houses went up on the hillside, the forestry was cut down and the amount of flow increased significantly, causing the entire road to become a river course during heavy periods of rains,” noted Chang.

According to him, prior to the upcoming rehabilitation, over $40 million was spent on two major rehabilitation works, where two inches of asphalt with concrete and adequate drains were put in place. However, floodwaters took out everything, including the pipes which were laid underground.

“Everybody in this community has their titles, so it’s not something where we can just go and relocate them,” said Chang. “You can look at the homes, relocation is not the most critical thing – they are good concrete-and-steel homes, so what you need is to control the drainage to deal with the flooding that takes place here.”

Andre Nelson, industrial and building manager at CCCL, said while the Government would have in recent years spent $40 million to resurface the road using cement, this time round it will be much cheaper but more durable.

“In our estimation, the concrete solution will be less than that ($40 million), but we don’t have that final figure at this time,” he said.