Manchester councillor calls for street light maintenance of crash hot spots

MANDEVILLE, Manchester — Councillor Mario Mitchell (People’s National Party, Bellefield Division) is questioning the coordination between the National Works Agency and the Jamaica Public Service company to maintain street lights on crash-prone roads here.

“I want to know the relationship JPS would have had with NWA. The reason I ask that [is] there are a number of accident-prone areas which I continue to mention every month. The Winston Jones Highway doesn’t have one [functional] street light, for example, and there have been a number of fatal accidents on that stretch,” he said while addressing last Thursday’s sitting of the local municipality.

He said the Winston Jones Highway, which links Mandeville and its environs, has been the scene of fatal crashes down the years.

“I am asking that emergency attention be given to the Winston Jones Highway. And the simple fact is when you reach down to the vicinity of Russell Place the street lights — there were normally two, one to the back and one to the front — and it is a major highway… [thus] the increased visibility itself would greatly assist,” he said.

JPS Operations Manager for Manchester and St Ann Devon Willis told Mitchell that the NWA is responsible for infrastructural support for street lights.

“As it relates to the Greenvale roundabout [and] the Winston Jones Highway, these roads are NWA roads and the request for street lights would have to be done by the NWA — so they would have to put [in] the infrastructure, get proposal for these areas to be properly lit, and then that conversation [can] be had [between] JPS and NWA for that corridor to be lit,” he explained.

However, Mitchell said there is existing infrastructure.

“… What you mentioned is for new installation, but what I am talking about there is existing infrastructure of the street lights that are on these major highways which are accident-prone — Pen Hill, Winston Jones Highway and Spur Tree Hill — the lighting is poor and some of these lights are out for months,” said Mitchell.

A reliable source told the Jamaica Observer that the issue of street light maintenance between the NWA and JPS is being rectified at a ministerial level.

Mitchell pointed to ongoing work on the US$188-million May Pen to Williamsfield leg of Highway 2000. The project is advancing uphill in Manchester to meet the March 2023 deadline.

“I get complaints from motorists all the time…. There needs to be increased visibility at night on the Melrose stretch from Porus to Williamsfield,” he said.

Mitchell pointed to a crash on the Melrose Bypass on July 18 which claimed the life of 34-year-old businessman Jermaine Jackson.

“I get complaints that because of the construction they continue to shift things and move things…. There are not enough lights,” said Mitchell.

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