Minister of Housing and Lands Denis Kellman is proposing a review of the road network in parts of St Thomas and St James as Government acquires approximately 10,000 square metres of land in the Arch Hall, St Thomas area for residential development and road access.
The St Lucy Member of Parliament said that with the development in that community, he expects more investment in the vicinity, which should also result in increased traffic.
He said it was, therefore, necessary for Government to “go back to the drawing table” to see if tweaks to the road infrastructure there and in nearby communities were necessary.
Kellman was on Friday opening debate in Parliament on the divestment of land in Arch Hall, St Thomas to the National Housing Corporation.
“The confusion as it relates to traffic cannot be ignored, and I think the time is right for us to look to see if the connection by the Lawrence Johnson Roundabout (located near the St Thomas Parish Church) is not the right connection for us to look to see how we can divert the traffic at the Lawrence Johnson Highway instead of allowing that traffic to come to the Arch Hall area and going on to the Warrens area for further confusion in that area,” Kellman said.
Pointing out that the Lancaster area is also being developed and it is not far away from Arch Hall, Kellman said technocrats should be cognizant of the traffic coming from all direction of the island to those vicinities.
“Government must ask itself whether it is prepared to cash in on the benefits that will be derived from the development that is occurring,” Kellman said.
The development, he said, “will allow the Ministry of Public Works to study the area to see if the road structure can hold the increased traffic without creating more confusion in the area”.
“So we need to go back to the drawing table and we need to see whether it is not in the best interest of this Government to look to see whether we should not divert at the roundabout and push that away somewhere to Christ Church with the necessary arteries that will allow people to be able to branch off,” recommended Kellman.
He said the development along Arch Hall and Lancaster called for better road connection between those areas and Royal Westmoreland, Bagatelle and the Welches area as well as Sandy Crest and other areas on the west coast.
Kellman called for more private sector investment in the Arch Hall and Lancaster areas, saying it would be better than having the money sitting in the bank and not earning measurable interest.
“We have to be careful we do not end up spending a lot of money in a particular area and we do not attract the necessary private sector investment. I believe wherever significant government money is spent there should be matching private sector investment to concur with government money being spent,” Kellman said.
Member of Parliament for St James Central Kerrie Symmonds said while he supports the development in Arch Hall, St Thomas, he is hoping that it took into consideration churches as well as a recreational area for residents.