Another major accident on crucial road link

News post April 5, 2016

Spur Tree worries!

Workers removing the overturned truck which blocked the Spur Tree main road Thursday.

Mandeville, Manchester — A truck spill which blocked the Spur Tree main road for in excess of 15 hours last week has heightened concerns about the crucial thoroughfare which links Mandeville and its environs to St Elizabeth and points west.

The truck which was laden with molasses overturned late Thursday, forcing motorists to use difficult alternate routes through southern and northern Manchester until Friday afternoon. Removing the large truck and its contents was difficult enough. But then the Fire Department had to wash away large quantities of spilled molasses from the roads surface. Though wide and well surfaced, the Spur Tree main road — on the southern slopes of mountains which make up most of Manchester — is very steep and also winding in some sections. It has been the scene of numerous accidents, some fatal, down the years. Large, heavily loaded trucks have had particular difficulty. However, National Works Agency community relations officer for southern Jamaica, Howard Hendricks, is insisting that in the context of road accidents, the Spur Tree main road is not the problem. While noting that, in the latest case, he was in no position to identify the reason for the accident, Hendricks said that for the most part carelessness, unfit vehicles, overloading and inexperienced drivers have all contributed to the spate of accidents on Spur Tree. “In some cases, it’s just old-fashioned ‘hard-ears’ on the part of drivers who see the caution signs, urging that vehicles engage low gear, and yet they ignore those signs,” said Hendriks. “In some cases, trucks are not road-worthy, some trucks are overloaded way beyond their capacity and some drivers are very inexperienced, some drivers are from elsewhere in Jamaica and do not understand Spur Tree and are at risk once they ignore the caution signs,” he added. It’s expected that in years to come, the second segment of the Southern Coastal Highway will allow motorists to comfortably bypass the Spur Tree main road. The planned south coast road forms part of the drive to link all of Jamaica with modern highways, planners say.

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