Highway hustle - Increased road use since fee reduction
Howard Campbell, Gleaner Writer
There has been a spike in the use of the Portmore leg of Highway 2000 by motorists since a reduction in toll fees took effect last Monday.
The Toll Authority, operators of the Portmore to Kingston stretch, announced a 25 per cent cut in fees for the next six months as rehabilitative work is done on the highway.
"There was definitely a change in travel patterns on Monday. Persons told me that a lot of motorists were waiting patiently to take advantage of the reductions on Friday," Joan Fletcher, chief executive officer of the Toll Authority, told The Sunday Gleaner.
The six-month reprieve applies to motorists using the highway between the periods 5 a.m. to 7 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.
Bouygues Traveaux Publics, the French company that built the overhead stretch, is handling the six-month project which is estimated to cost US$8 million.
Transport and Works Minister Mike Henry told The Sunday Gleaner last week that cracks on approximately 1.1 kilometres of the highway's surface had been identified and will be repaired.
To facilitate reconstruction, two kilometres of road will be closed on one side of the carriageway. Billboards with instructions of the new arrangements have been placed strategically along the highway which leads into Kingston.
Though several motor accidents have occurred on the Portmore leg of Highway 2000, Henry stressed they were not caused by the cracks.
"From the information I've got, none of the accidents came from them," he said.
The minister added that no new features are planned for the highway.
There was vocal opposition to the Portmore leg of Highway 2000 when it opened in July 2006. Many Portmore residents who work in Kingston complained that the fees ($60 to $200 depending on the type of vehicle) were too high and called on the Government to make a rollback.
The Portmore stretch preceded the St Catherine/Clarendon leg which opened in December 2004.
- New discount rates
Class 1: was $120, now $90
Class 2: was $170, now $130
Class 3: was $340, now $260