Heavy rains flood several Kingston roads, cause traffic gridlock for hours

HERE was chaos yesterday in Jamaica’s capital city, Kingston, after approximately two hours of heavy rain turned several roads in into waterways and leaving hundreds of motorists stranded for hours.

Marcus Garvey Drive, downtown Kingston, sections of Michael Manley Boulevard, Vineyard Town, and sections of Lyndhurst Road were among the worst affected by flooding, causing gridlock into late evening.

Director of the Meteorological Service Division Evan Thompson told the Jamaica Observer that the rain was as a result of an “isolated thunderstorm cell” that developed over sections of the Corporate Area. He said, however, that it has since dissipated and a high-pressure ridge that is now dominating and so today should be generally sunny.

When the Observer visited Marcus Garvey Drive, Maxfield Avenue, Beechwood Avenue and Lyndhurst Road yesterday evening a number of motorist where stuck in traffic, while others sought alternative routes to avoid the gridlock along the main corridors. Pedestrians, meanwhile, hopped, skipped and jumped to get across some roads.

Some students who were heading home from school took off their shoes as they walked through the flood waters clutching umbrellas and bags.

A video posted on Twitter showed sections of Hagley Park Road, which had been dug up to lay pipes as part of National Water Commision improvment works and construction to facilitate the ongoing road project, inundated with water. The person who posted the video advised motorists to avoid the area.

Other motorists similarly stuck in traffic shared their frustration on social media.

Motorists struggle on the flooded Marcus Garvey Drive, yesterday

“[I am] stuck on Marcus Garvey Drive for three hours with no sign of the water receding,” one woman posted on Twitter.

“It seems to be gridlock wherever you turn. New Kingston and off roads are a mess. Lights at Oxford and Knutsford Boulevard are out. Oxford, Haining, Belmont, Worthington at a standstill,” Fae A Ellington tweeted.

She later tweeted: “After one hour and 15 minutes I’m still caught on Haining Road.”

“Traffic stubborn along Waltham Park Road in both directions. No police in sight,” another motorist tweeted.

“The traffic wicked, gridlock. It took me over an hour to reach to Pegasus from Beechwood Avenue. The traffic no move,” a motorist told the Observer.

“Avoid Marcus Garvey Drive at 9th Avenue at this time. Traffic pile-up resulting from extreme flooding of corridor,” National Works Agency later advised in a tweet.

There were no report of injuries during the flooding.