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Good quality roadwork needed

Friday, November 10, 2017

Dear Editor,

I suppose the entire Jamaica could bawl out about the condition of the roads in their communities, because after the rains everywhere you go it's the same. There is hardly any track which could classify as good road, and although Jamaica is said to have one of the densest road networks in the world, they are mostly of the poorest quality.

Few of our roads were built for modern traffic, and many follow the old tracks of animals with a little asphalt daubed on them. The National Works Agency, which is responsible for roads, has not done any more impressive work in construction and maintenance than the old Public Works Department it replaced.

I can't believe that Jamaica does not have competent road construction engineers, or is it that no one cares.

The Junction main road is one of the major cross country roads and it is scheduled for major work. This should mean major overhaul and reconstruction, and not just resurfacing. Even as a non-technical person, I don't believe the money proposed can do a good and lasting job. I have been driving on this road for over 50 years and it has always been bad, but I did not notice how worse it has got on my recent trip on a large bus. This was a hair-raising experience punctuated by the screams of the female passengers whenever a truck came windshield to windshield around the hairpin bends overlooking the rocky Wag Water riverbed deep below. Plus,everyone held hope, and prayed, that the pavement did not give way under the weight of the vehicles.

The road needs to be widened, straightened, drained, and the double bends near Broadgate need to be bridged in order to get rid of the hairpin curves.

My father used to drill the proverb in me that “whatever is worth doing is worth doing well”, and if it means doing a shorter distance than what is proposed and having a short-term plan to complete the project is better than sowing the wind and reaping the whirlwind as we have done in the past. We patch and patch until the surface looks like an old patchwork quilt, not heeding the biblical advice about new patch on old cloth.

There is danger in giving contracts to the lowest bidder knowing full well that a good job cannot be done for the bid price. Very often these contractors neither have the skill or the equipment to do a good job and nobody seems to supervise the work in progress. If we continue as we have been doing, the whirlwind is coming.


Trevor Samuels


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