(JAMAICA GLEANER) A traffic accident along the Long Hill main road in St James on Wednesday left hundreds of motorists and commuters, including students and visitors to the island, stranded for several hours. This accident was one of many which have taken place along that roadway in recent months.
“Something needs to be done about the Long Hill road. Once there is an accident, you are usually trapped for up to three to four hours,” said a disgruntled motorist.
“Right now, you have tourists heading back to the airport who are trapped; and look at the number of students who can’t get to school because the road is choked off.”
The Long Hill road, which is a part of the network leading from St James to other parishes, such as Westmoreland and St Elizabeth, is not only narrow but also quite treacherous because of the precipice to one side. Whenever there is a crash or a vehicle falls into the precipice below, the road generally becomes impassable.
“The new Montego Bay bypass should include a new roadway to bypass Long Hill because it is becoming more of a headache and a hindrance with each new accident,” continued the motorist. “This is the only route for visitors going to and from Sandals South Coast, which is the top hotel property on the south coast.”
In Wednesday’s accident, officers from the Anchovy Police Station reported that about 7:00 a.m., a white Noah van was proceeding towards Anchovy, from Montego Bay, when the driver lost control of the vehicle along Long Hill. The vehicle plunged some 100 feet below.
The narrow roadway became quickly blocked by curious motorists and emergency vehicles – ambulances, a fire truck, wreckers, and police vehicles. It remained solidly blocked for several hours as attempts were made to pull the vehicle from the precipice.
Up to 10:30 a.m., hundreds of vehicles, including tour buses, lined the roadway, waiting on the wreckers to retrieve the vehicle so that normal traffic flow could be restored.
“I left home at 6:30 a.m. for a medical appointment in Savanna-la-Mar at 9:30 a.m., and it is now 10:00 a.m. and you could say I am still in Montego Bay,” said a businessman. “We can’t be asking people to come and invest in Montego Bay and every time there is an accident on Long Hill, everything comes to a full stop.”