A big mess!

Stalled drainage work in Mandeville bringing misery to commuters

Monday, October 08, 2018

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MANDEVILLE, Manchester — Stalled drainage work on Ward Avenue close to the intersection with Perth Road, Caledonia Road and Manchester Road has brought misery to commercial operators as well as their customers, motorists and pedestrians in recent times.

Excavation, which begun in August, has left huge holes in the road, restricting the movement of traffic and eliminating parking in some cases.

Heavy rains, which routinely flood the area and open up potholes have made the situation worse. One businessman told Observer Central that when it doesn't rain, dust becomes a big nuisance.

Stephen Shaw, communications manager at the National Works Agency (NWA) told Mandeville's business leaders at a Manchester Chamber of Commerce forum last Thursday that the work which is supervised by the NWA, has stalled largely because the “scope” is more extensive than originally thought.

“We have a serious problem…,” said Shaw.

“We have been working with several stakeholders to try and mitigate the issue. The project has been delayed somewhat for a few reasons to include us having to go back to the drawing board because we have had to modify the design to accommodate storm water drains even deeper … far more excavation than we had initially scoped,” he said.

Shaw said the NWA's “most senior engineers” were looking at the situation. He gave no timelines for resumption of the work or completion of the project but said progress had been made in securing agreements with property owners to get “easement” of drainage systems through their land.

He said the NWA was anxious to ensure the project is done properly.

“At the end of the day we don't want to be putting something in that could collapse later on. We are spending a significant amount of money. We want to have a spend that will certainly outlast us sitting inside this room at this time,” he said.

Manchester Chamber of Commerce president Garfield Green, who wrote to the NWA about the issue, told Observer Central that his members were very concerned about the problem at one of Mandeville's busiest intersections and close to the heart of the town.

“It is unsafe, unsightly … Recently when it rained heavily one of the reports I got was that you could not identify the holes because they were covered with water. It is very unsafe,” Green told Observer Central.

Sargeant Florizel Williams who has responsibility for traffic in Manchester said the stalled work had made life doubly difficult for the police. “it's a major thoroughfare, it needs to be fixed,” he said.

The drain improvement project on Ward Avenue and adjoining intersection is aimed at correcting drainage problems, which have caused extensive flooding down the years.

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