Highway nightmare

MANDEVILLE, Manchester — A week after a two-vehicle crash claimed three lives on the Melrose Hill bypass near here, councillors are raising concerns about safety on the May Pen to Williamsfield leg of Highway 2000 now under construction.

Councillor Mario Mitchell (People’s National Party, Bellefield Division), in addressing Thursday’s monthly meeting of the Manchester Municipal Corporation, said the Melrose Hill bypass, which is being incorporated into the highway, needs to be well-lit.

“Whatever can be done in terms of the safety signs, if you follow the road you would realise that, because of the infrastructure [it] continues to change daily and there is now a completed section that you go on, but I don’t think there is sufficient signage and lights being provided by the contractors,” Mitchell said.

A reliable source told the Jamaica Observer that National Road Operating and Constructing Company (NROCC), which is responsible for overseeing the design, construction, and maintenance of Jamaica’s highways, gave notice to the municipality that traffic changes on the bypass will continue until the end of February 2023.

On Thursday, Mitchell complained that traffic changes are being made on the bypass frequently.

“They are working at nights also now, and I don’t think there are sufficient lights being provided. They should have at least more light towers at certain intersections of the road. There are major changes that are there every single day that is causing some severe hampering to the motoring public,” Mitchell said.

Mayor of Mandeville Donovan Mitchell agreed.

“I concur, in terms of the Melrose bypass. I came up on that road about 1:30 am [Thursday] and I didn’t know where to go. I literally stopped the vehicle and looked which direction I must go. They keep doing changes and you do not recognise the changes until you get to the point,” said the mayor.

“I don’t know what cause the accident, but the police probably need to work on that road at nights. There are many nights I am coming up that roadway and trucks are coming down,” he added.

Councillor Mitchell said a petition was submitted for the Old Melrose Hill Road to be lit; however, “that has still not been done. If you go there at nights it is the darkest place you see on Earth”.

Additionally, sections of the Old Melrose Hill Road which was paved to accommodate eastbound traffic are now pockmarked with potholes.

The highway project is fast advancing with all major bridges on the road complete and the project advancing uphill in Manchester to meet the March 2023 deadline.

The project – which will reduce travel time between Kingston, Mandeville and points west — was originally scheduled for completion in October 2022.

Police named the people killed in last Friday’s two-vehicle crash as 19-year-old Mona-Ann Forbes, a resident of Corn Piece Settlement, Hayes, in Clarendon; Noel Bonnick, who lived at Stewarton in Clarendon; and a 60-year-old man said to be from Trelawny.

Police report that about 11:00 am a Toyota Wish motorcar operated as a taxi was travelling uphill on the Melrose Hill bypass when a collision occurred with a Hyundai H1 minibus travelling in the opposite direction. The three victims were travelling in the taxi.

A reliable source had told the Observer that the minibus was transporting workers of a company contracted to do blasting on the US$188-m May Pen to Williamsfield leg of Highway 2000. The workers were reportedly conducting a post-blast survey in the area.

In May, traffic changes were made to the Melrose Hill bypass to accommodate only westbound traffic. Eastbound traffic has been diverted to the Old Melrose Hill Road.

Generated by Feedzy