Motorists frustrated

...Complain about traffic on Portmore toll road

Friday, December 14, 2018

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SINCE the opening of Chesterfield Drive in St Andrew last week, commuters who use the Portmore toll road during peak hours have been experiencing gridlock traffic.

In fact, the snail's pace traffic intensified on Monday when the three-lane toll road was reduced to two. The extreme left lane is now reserved for motorists heading to Spanish Town Road and Port Bustamante. Some motorists ignored the huge signs about the change and drove in the left lane, but the traffic congestion did not improve.

Some motorists, who seemingly refused to contend with the nightmarish traffic, parked on the soft shoulder waited for it to improve, but up to 9:00 am, the traffic was the same.

On Sunday, the National Works Agency (NWA) sent out a release stating that buses travelling from Portmore were not permitted to set down passengers in the vicinity of the overhead bridge where the Portmore toll road intersects with Marcus Garvey Drive.

On Monday, the directive was enforced by the police with the help of a yellow and black concrete median bearing NWA's logo.

The buses were instructed to travel through the port, where they would properly set down passengers heading into that area. Meanwhile, passengers wishing to disembark vehicles in order to head towards the direction of Portia Simpson Miller square, formerly Three Miles, would be allowed to do so on the section of Marcus Garvey Drive that leads to that area.

However, that did not address the traffic problem. Up to Wednesday, commuters were still expressing their frustration.

A few took to social media website Twitter, posting photos of the gridlock and voicing their concern.

“So because money nuh missing, the continued mismanagement of traffic not being addressed? This is the Portmore toll. People paying to be stuck for hours. Is only scandal we care bout? Kmdt,” one user said.

Another motorist replied to the tweet saying: “Mr PM, The @NWA_JA Got the #Portmore Toll-road traffic ALL WRONG. Up until last week #PTMR. traffic was flowing smoothly with the addition of the extra north-bound lane with u-turn unto Marcus Garvey Drive. Its removal has only resulted in CHAOS, PLEASE Revert @JulietHolness”.

“Nuttin nuh greeve (sic) me su. What the @NWA_JA doing about this? Not to mention those 3 BIG signs they put up to Get in Lane, total waste of money. @AndrewHolnessJM We need ur HELLLPPPPP!! 13 Toll booths merge into 3 lanes, just imagine the KAUS. Going 2nd wk nw & NO chang,” another user wrote.

National Works Agency Communication and Customer Service Manager Stephen Shaw told the Jamaica Observer on Wednesday that the agency recognised the issue, but there aren't many options to rectify the problem.

Shaw explained that if they were to allow three lanes across the bridge, it would cause a pile-up of traffic for motorists who use Chesterfield Drive to get on to Marcus Garvey Drive. He also explained that if they were to close the detour road, motorists would relive what they experienced when Portia Simpson Miller square was closed in September to facilitate the major road expansion work taking place.

“We are really hoping that the traffic will settle down before too long, and then after a while we will be out of there,” he explained.

— Racquel Porter

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