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Highway Joy - Clarendon residents will benefit from new leg

Published:Sunday | March 18, 2012 | 12:00 AM
Tour of the south coast highway in Clarendon.- photos by Norman Grindley/Chief Photographer

Residents of communities around the still-under-construction Sandy Bay to May Pen leg of Highway 2000 should enjoy several benefits when the road is open come September.

Apart from a sharp (about a 20-minute) reduction in travel time, several steps are being taken to ensure that residents are not adversely affected by the noise and flurry of the new highway.

The highway will have limited access, but there will be entry points at Mineral Heights and the Rio Minho Bridge.

In addition, the highway will go over or under the present access roads, so residents will be able to enter or leave their communities without going on to the new toll road.

But what the contractor and developer are most proud about is the 'noise walls' which will be constructed at the side of the highway in built-up areas.

"There will be what we call noise walls here which will be acting like sound barriers. There will be like a 2.5-metre wall to reduce the noise for the residents," Marc Bocqueraz told The Sunday Gleaner.

This will be the first time that any road is constructed in Jamaica with noise walls and comes at the request of the residents.

"We have been meeting with the residents of the communities and we have been monitoring the dust issue during the construction. we also have noise limits that we have to respect during the working hours," said Bocqueraz.

The cost to use this leg of Highway 2000 is yet to be determined, but head of the National Road Operating and Constructing Company, Ivan Anderson, says based on the cost structure, it should be affordable for motorists.

"We have a cap per kilometre that TransJamaican (the operator of the highway) can charge, and that is the same for all legs (of Highway 2000)," Anderson told The Sunday Gleaner.

That should see drivers of motor cars paying toll fees in line with what now exists, but considering that this will be the shortest leg of the highway, the cost could be less than half of the $270 motorists now pay for cars using the 21km Kingston to Bushy Park leg.