Traffic nightmare looming?

MONTEGO BAY, St James — Four traffic lights were officially switched on in a heavily used section of Norwood, St James, on Friday but another set of challenges has emerged just when the new school year is set to begin, when traffic will be heavy. One road has been converted to one-way flow and Member of Parliament for St James North Western Dr Horace Chang is expecting problems. He wants traffic police deployed.

“It’s an operation for the police but it’s a common sense issue. And I expect them to be here because, if not, there will be quite a bit of confusion with people going up and down, and there could be legal implications,” Dr Chang told reporters during a stop at Middle Road in Norwood Friday afternoon.

“They’ll be driving up a one-way and damage somebody’s vehicle and then the insurance would have a different view of your activities, so it will have to be monitored carefully in the early days,” added Dr Chang, who is also the minister of national security.

“One way” and “No entry” signs have been posted at points along the road to alert motorists of the change, and the police have indicated they have a plan in place.

“Persons are going to have teething pains and, as it is the start of the new school year, we’re going to have some confusion so we’re going to have some police in place,” said Inspector Gregory Hall.

Some residents have complained that they were not consulted before the change was made.

“I want to know who them talk to and when them talk to anybody about this because I don’t think anybody would agree to the road becoming a one-way,” one man remarked. He chose not to provide his name.

A female resident who said she has lived in the area for years questioned how residents who live at the intersection would cope.

“So them have to go all the way around if them want to come back here? How that work?” she queried.

When contacted, National Works Agency (NWA) community relations officer for the western region Janel Ricketts said the NWA has been making an effort to advise residents on the change.

“We have been doing some communication in terms of our press release; we have sent out the information. We also have made use of our social media platforms to distribute, for example, the map showing the alternative route and also where the lights are positioned,” she explained.

“So there was some amount of communication with stakeholders in and around Montego Bay to sensitise them to this,” she added.

The traffic lights were installed at the intersections of Middle and Felicity roads, Felicity and Sun Valley, Felicity and Salt Spring, along with Salt Spring Road and Vernon’s Drive.

They were put in as part of measures to regulate the flow of traffic along roads on the outskirts of Montego Bay’s bustling centre. The roads form part of an unofficial bypass that takes commuters from Ironshore to Westgate Boulevard.