A ‘hole’ disaster

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The potholes at this section of the Wakefield to Hampden main road are so deep that when rain falls and gathers, it looks like a river, leaving persons to believe that there had been a flood.
  • Wakefield to Hampden road destroying vehicles

Motor vehicle users, particularly the bus and taxi operators with routes that demand the usage of the main road extending from Wakefield to Hampden, are issuing complaints for the umpteenth time to the government to rehabilitate the road.

“The condition of the road is very bad. And it is the only road we have to use. Dem need to do something about it now because every day is almost a near accident because of the poor condition,” said infuriated bus operator of seven years, Delmonte Reid, whose route is Wakefield TC Montego Bay.

While some motorists travel on that main road infrequently, operators of public transportation have to journey along the Wakefield to Hampden route on a daily basis, several times per day, to get to Montego Bay and back. This, they reveal, is as physically and monetarily taxing as it is dangerous.

Reid explains that the consistent rainfalls are making the road worse and, “It is like traversing through river. Everyting wash down in di road. We haffi pay man fi chop out a area fi the water wash down. We tiad a it!” He added that lower vehicles stand a higher risk of water getting into the engine and causing damage; and cylinders can break as a result of journeying through high water levels constantly.

He is becoming more frustrated as he and other drivers have bought multiple front-end parts on an ongoing basis for their vehicles, which continue to fall victim to the flood-prone, pothole-littered road.

Reid explained that there was a two-day road block demonstration last year, October 2017, which spurred a meeting with Dr. Horace Chang who assured them that he would lobby with the relevant authorities to have something done.

It was decided in the meeting that within two weeks, repairs would start on the road. However, consistent rainfalls at the time intervened, which prevented the commencement of the repairs. “We understood that it was the weather and we remained patient,” said Reid.

$10 MILLION ALLOCATION

According to him, the assumption from thus was that the revamping of the road would start when the rainfall lessened and indeed the months of January to March saw a significant decrease in rainfall in the area. However, a recent article published in the Western Mirror in March outlined that $10 million was allocated to fixing the same road, but there has been no visible evidence that the construction is taking place.

North Trelawny MP, Victor Wright, is aware of the situation and explained the reason behind the delay. “The funds were allocated in February but the tender process which was put in place by the government is what’s causing the hold up. It’s taken too long but NWA are on it.”

He continues that, “The $10 million that was provided by the NWA is waiting for the Contactor-General to provide insurance for the work to start.” MP Wright assures that as soon as the process is complete, work will begin on the road.

The Wakefield to Hampden main road has been in a deplorable condition for over 25 years now, and on several occasions, persons have been reaching out to the powers that be to restore it but nothing has been done to improve the condition. Residents living in the Wakefield, Deeside, Bunkers Hill and Friendship districts that have to commute along that route for the mere fact that it is the main road and the shorter route, have been suffering the most.

Users of the Wakefield to Hampden main road, which stretches from Trelawny to Montego Bay, are in unrest once more even though they wait patiently for the tender process to be complete so that rehabilitation of that vital main road can commence.

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