NROCC addressing noise complaints on highway project

FOUR PATHS, Clarendon – Residents here have expressed relief after their concern of a noise nuisance at nights resulting from construction of the US$188-million May Pen to Williamsfield leg of the east-west corridor of Highway 2000 was addressed recently.

“Last week there was a constant movement of trucks throughout the nights on Denbigh Drive and the construction road…The trucks would be working from 8:00 pm straight to daylight,” a resident who opted not to be identified told the Jamaica Observer.

The resident claimed that the matter has since been resolved but complained about the deteriorating road conditions which she blamed on trucks being used for the construction of the 28.6-kilometre highway extension.

“I should tell you that I have since got in touch with somebody at NROCC (National Road Operating and Constructing Company Limited) and the noise has stopped. There is nothing going on at night anymore, because [NROCC] explained that the work is supposed to end at 6:00 pm,” the resident said.

“I am happy with what is being done. There is a cost of development with that, one of which is dust. Some people have sinus issues, but other than that people are trying to manage. The movement of the trucks as well during the days, because the road that I am referring to has a lot of potholes, so when the trucks fall in it is really loud,” she added.

Ivan Anderson, managing director of NROCC, which is responsible for overseeing the design, construction and maintenance of Jamaica’s highways, said the roads damaged by construction units will be repaired.

“We have done a video of all the existing road conditions that intersect with the highway that the trucks may utilise as part of the construction works. We use that as the base for comparison, so once the project is complete, we look back at how the road conditions are when the road is finished, compared to the road conditions that were there before,” he explained last week.

“Where there has been deterioration due to the trucks, then those are repaired by the contractor. If there are major damage that have been done, then those are fixed immediately, but the superficial kinds of damage, additional potholes, those kinds of things will be fixed at the end,” he declared.

However, there is an appeal for repair works to be done now to ease the deplorable road condition.

“It would be good if they could carry out some repairs on Foga Road. When I drive on it, I hear all kinds of noise, and I drive a new car and it makes me wonder if I’m driving an old car. It is like a river road you’re driving on,” the resident said.

Meanwhile, Anderson disclosed that the highway is almost at a quarter of its journey to completion, and was still on track to be completed next year, despite “teething pains”.

“We are at about 25 per cent now, we are still on target for completion for next year October, so everything is going well,” he said.

“We have had some teething pains, where sometimes the police don’t know the construction workers. There are some exemptions [regarding curfew hours] for the construction workers,” he pointed out.

He emphasised the benefits of the highway once completed for commuters traversing the busy east-west corridor with the Melrose Hill bypass being upgraded to a dual carriageway.

When the May Pen to Williamsfield leg is completed commuters will pay tolls in St Catherine and Clarendon, but at this time tolls won’t apply in Manchester.

“The important thing to note about Melrose [Hill bypass] is that we are allowing use of it free, there is no charge. You will be able to use it from Williamsfield roundabout to Porus in either direction,” said Anderson.

The greater goal is to develop the south coast to allow for a short travel time between Kingston and Montego Bay.

“The idea is to bring us all the way back to Williamsfield from the Montego Bay side, so you can drive easily from Kingston to MoBay along the south coast,” Anderson said.

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