Residents want road damage to be addressed
Residents in the Belritiro community in Manchester are pleading with authorities to expedite plans to fix a section of the roadway which they say continues to inconvenience travellers particularly when it rains.
According to residents, the road, which was elevated on numerous occasions years ago, has deteriorated significantly over the past two years, forcing residents to travel alternate routes or take a dangerous walk along the retaining wall when the section is flooded.
"If you see it after the rain fall is a different thing. Is a resident come with him pickaxe and try level it off and full out some sections; that's why it nuh look so bad now," said resident Fitzroy Morgan. Inability to access public transportation and the dust nuisance are some of the concerns raised by the residents.
"It's almost like the community is [physically] separated because of this. Most taxis will come to the spot and turn and you have to walk with your bag because they won't pass the hole. I have a niece who do security work and when she calls the taxi early morning, they ask her to walk past that section because them not coming up there and is the same thing at nights." Morgan added. Shop owner Renneka Wint said her business has been significantly impacted with traffic reduction.
"The taxis not coming up this side, less people coming up this side, so business is slow. It has affected us in every way. I have to walk with my luggage and bags past the bad road. The few taxi drivers that come up this side are the ones that live up the road and have no choice but to drive here," she explained.
With other sections of the road rehabilitated late last year, residents say this section should have been given priority.
"Nothing was wrong with the road they fixed last year. This part of the road is the problem... Them [authorities] come all the while come take picture and say they are doing feasibility test and say it would be fixed by Christmas, and all now it nuh fix," Morgan said.
Following a tour of the constituency last August with Minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation Everald Warmington and other stakeholders, Member of Parliament for Central Manchester Rhoda Crawford said the problem was assessed and just more than $2.7 million was earmarked for the project. However, Crawford said she is now waiting on the National Works Agency for final approval.
"When we looked at the section, we couldn't just pave it. If we could have just paved it, it would have been done already. It needs a drainage system... ," she said. Crawford said that the project in Belritiro, along with rehabilitative works for 11 other roadways throughout the constituency, should be completed by the end of the fiscal year in March.
"The other four roads in Church Street, Land Settlement, Comfort and Broadleaf will be done under the $8 million provided by the Bauxite Institute. Then with the $7 million for Christmas Patching Programme, we are going to be doing Short Town, sections of Heartese, deCarteret Road, Jackson Drive and Waltham," she said.
Crawford added that several other roads will be repaired with a $3.5 million allocation from the Constituency Development Fund and a $3 million grant from the Tourism Product Development Company.