Jamaica Gleaner / WESTERN BUREAU:
The new traffic study by the National Works Agency to determine the feasibility of creating the much-touted Montego Bay bypass is now well advanced and is poised to be completed in May.
The data, which will inform the decision-making process for the bypass, were originally collected in a similar exercise last year, but the data went missing when the car in which the questionnaires were transported from St James was stolen in St Catherine.
“The bypass is still big in the plans of the Government, you can look for the completion of the feasibility part of it by late May,” a well-placed government source, who asked not to be identified, told The Gleaner last week.
“The funding will have to be sourced, likely a public-private arrangement, so any agreement will have to include users paying a toll,” the source added.
Businessman Tony Hart, arguably Montego Bay’s most renowned developer, has been calling for the creation of a bypass for more than a decade, arguing that there could be major problems in the coming years if this is not done to support ongoing development.
PLANS BEING CONSIDERED Among the development plans already under consideration are a significant increase in the city’s housing stock, major developments in the tourism sector, and a massive expansion in the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry. All these projects are expected to increase the traffic flow on the already-congested public thoroughfare throughout the city.
Presently, motorists travelling through Montego Bay are forced to endure long delays along the 2.31-kilometre Howard Cooke Boulevard, especially during peak hours.
“We were given a similar timeline recently and we are happy, because the economic case for the road (bypass) is very clear,” said Gloria Henry, president of the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry. “From every perspective, future growth, logistics, productivity, safety, as well as competitiveness for the city and the country to support east-to-west trade and economic linkages, the road is needed.”
Should the bypass become a reality, it is expected to be an instant fix for the length of time it takes motorists to travel from Rose Hall to Reading, which takes motorists through the heart of the city.