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Linstead leg of North Coast Highway Connecting KINGSTON TO OCHO RIOS almost complete

Toll highway

This Kingston leg of the North Coast Highway (NCH), pictured here from fly over in Linstead, St. Catherine …. when completed will cut travel time by half as traffic congestion will be a thing of the past. Tourism will get a needed boost as travel from say Ocho Rios to Kingston is beset by long delays due to the pile up of traffic in the existing Gorge roadway which is an old two way road. Accidents also lead to delays.

It is not clear if toll rates will be increased further as the extended segment is added. Affordability and pay back are critical factors as the highway costs a lot to be built and there are ongoing operational costs which have to be met. Do your home work guys. The last thing we want is a “White Elephant” being a black surfaced roadway, pothole free surface, beautiful, but not being used.

One thousand two hundred (1200) acres of prime lands were given to the Chinese in exchange for building the Linstead to Moneague leg of the North Coast Highway (NCH).The highway needs to be used to the max to reduce travel costs and boost production.

Bog Walk Gorge

The Rio Cobre River rises on a regular basis. When this happens alternate routes have to be used. The river floods onto the roadway. Rains in the surrounding hills is the main cause for the Rio Cobre river rising …. hence flooding of flat bridge. Rio Cobre (Spanish, means “river of snake) when translated literally to English).

Alternate Routes

Barry and Sligoville have been the more popular alternate routes when the flat bridge is flooded. It should be noted that our first Free Village between 1834 to 1838 when slavery came to an end is located in Sligoville. Of hilly terrain, this District is in St. Catherine, Jamaica W.I.

Flat Bridge … Engineering Feat ahead of its time.

The historic flat bridge was built dating back to the Spanish Occupation of Jamaica in 1492. The bridge is without rails and has been a death trap over the centuries …. a number of vehicles have fallen into the river. Some vehicles have been found down stream . ..very few have survived having been trapped in their vehicles. An unofficial diving crew have rescued many a trapped motorist. All this should change or be greatly minimized come early 2016. The river rises without notice and traps unsuspecting users. Gates manually operated, have been installed to close off road when impassable. Successive governments have done various studies as to constructing a bypass road to remove this hazardous trek. The Chinese must be commended for their expertise.

Hopeton O’Connor-Dennie, SIC & photojournalist, filed this historic report looking at Flat Bridge for Vision Newspaper readers worldwide. An engineering marvel is Flat Bridge.

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