BY KERIL WRIGHT Observer West reporter
MONTEGO BAY, St James -
Both lanes of Segment 2A of the North Coast Highway, which runs from Greenside in Trelawny to the Sangster International Airport, will be opened to vehicular traffic tomorrow.
It is expected that the opening of the US$50.2 million roadway, which Minister of Transport and Works, Mike Henry, announced yesterday during a tour, will ease traffic congestion in the second city somewhat.
"It’s ready to take traffic and the tourist season which begins December 15 is already underway so we are accommodating that,” Henry told the OBSERVER WEST during yesterday's tour of the roadway. The touring party included Minister of Tourism, Ed Bartlett and officials of the National Works Agency (NWA).
Traffic congestion in the city has increased in the run up to the start of the winter tourist season, with long lines of traffic starting at the airport round-a-bout through to Rose Hall — home of several of the resort city’s major hotels.
"Where we are is going to be fully opened to traffic to Montego Bay Friday," Henry said yesterday, as he indicated the blockades in the vicinity of Sea Castles and the John Rollins Success Primary School.
Henry noted that he had called for an overhead foot path for this section of the road in light of the proximity of the primary school, situated adjacent to the highway, where one child has already been killed in a traffic accident.
"I have called for the design of an overhead footpath," Henry told reporters yesterday. He said that it was unlikely that this overhead bridge would be in place by January, for the start of the new school year, but noted that proper traffic signals would be in place by then.
"The traffic extensions will be in before school opens," he stated. "And work on the overhead bridge will be done as far as is humanly possible," he told the OBSERVER WEST. In addition, he said, they would be willing to engage additional traffic wardens to ensure the safety of the children in the area.
The attendant infrastructure, Henry said, such as the installation of streetlights, the completion of the drains and beautification of the medians would follow in short order.