Residents of White Hill, St Andrew, will soon be getting a new road.
Minister of Transport, Works and Maintenance Dr William Duguid today revealed that plans were already underway to construct a new road following the collapse of the main road into the area back in 2014.
Over four years ago, the then Democratic Labour Party Government condemned the main road into the rural community after it was severely damaged following heavy rains.
However, Duguid who toured the area shortly after taking office, said he recognized “it was a significant problem”. He said a second portion of the road was also breaking away and the ministry had put significant resources into placing gabions in that area to reinforce it.
The Minister said that action was necessary, and explained that if that part of the road had collapsed it would have left some White Hill residents “totally cut off”.
Duguid said a contractor had subsequently been hired to determine whether a new road could go on the exact site or whether there was a need for an alternate location.
“He has not only given an alternate location, but he has given an alternate way of how the road can be constructed using precast concrete.
“We anticipate that it will cost in the vicinity of $8 million, between $5 to $8 million, and that is his preliminary assessment . . . but we could not put something in unless we had the empirical evidence,” Duguid reported to the Standing Finance Committee in Parliament today.
He said a report would soon be presented to Cabinet on the matter.
His comments came following concerns raised by Member of Parliament for St Andrew George Payne that the residents of White Hill were being ignored.
While he said his ministry was dealing with those persons who had to be relocated, Payne, the Minister of Housing, Lands and Rural Development had queried why there was no mention of White Hill in the Estimates.
But the longstanding MP said he was satisfied with Duguid’s response to the situation.
“I’m glad for that explanation and I hope that you as Minister will use your good office to ensure that whatever has to be done in order to satisfy the trauma of the residents of White Hill will be done,” Payne said after hearing Duguid’s confirmation that a new road would be built.
General Manager of the Transport Board Felicia Sue also gave her assurance that a shuttle service would be provided for White Hill residents. She said the matter would be addressed in two to three weeks, as there was expected to be more buses available by that time.