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Commuters bemoan traffic changes at Portmore toll/ Marcus Garvey Drive intersection

Monday, December 10, 2018

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — Commuters have dubbed as "foolishness" the new traffic changes that have been implemented by the National Works Agency (NWA) at the intersection of Marcus Garvey Drive and the entrance to the Portmore toll road.

The changes, which were announced by the agency yesterday, took effect this morning.

It stipulates that buses travelling from the direction of Portmore will no longer be allowed to set down passengers in the vicinity of the overhead bridge where the Portmore toll road intersects with Marcus Garvey Drive.

Instead, all buses were instructed to travel through the Port, where they will properly set down passengers heading into that area. Meanwhile, those wishing to disembark vehicles in order to head in the Three Miles direction will be allowed to do so, on the section of Marcus Garvey Drive that leads to that area.

Commuters have been however left frustrated as they say the changes make no sense.

"This cannot work! This a foolishness!” expressed one disgruntled passenger on a JUTC bus heading towards Kingston from Portmore.

Her sentiments were quickly echoed by other passengers who were obviously frustrated about being late for school or work yet again.

“This cyaan continue to go on, " shared another passenger, who said the authorities need to figure something out once and for all because they keep making changes after commuters and motorists get familiar with previous changes.

"Every minute them change the route them, so we cyaan settle down inna one pattern,” expressed another.

Traffic heading into Half-Way-Tree using the detours along Hagley Park Road moved rather quickly this morning, but it is unclear if that was a result of the changes or motorists choosing to use other routes in anticipation that these roadways would be congested.

NWA's communication and customer services manager Stephen Shaw said the new traffic changes were made as the agency tries to address the issue of the significant back-up along the Portmore toll, especially since the opening of the new Chesterfield Road.

The result, traffic moving at a snail's pace from Portmore into the Corporate Area.

Shaw however reasoned in his statement yesterday that based on observations, it has been determined that a significant cause of the backup has been the constant interruptions by pedestrians of the vehicular traffic flow.

The buses, which are operated by the Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) and its franchise holders, have been setting down passengers near the bridge. The majority of these passengers then walk across the traffic as they head across the median to the Port of Kingston, NWA said.

Shaw said the NWA is contemplating other changes as it seeks to optimise the use of both the Portmore toll and Chesterfield Drive.

He urged pedestrians especially to desist from climbing the median along the Portmore toll, as they are putting themselves at risk of injury or death.

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