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Bridge and road projects to restart

BY BALFORD HENRY Observer writer

Friday, June 29, 2012    

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WORK on the Cassia Park and Queensborough bridges; the Rio Grande Bridge; and the Christiana Development Road project are to restart, according to a ministry paper tabled in the House of Representatives, in downtown Kingston, on Tuesday. However, no resumption dates were given.

The information was contained in Ministry Paper 40, tabled by Dr Omar Davies, Minister of Transportation, Works and Housing.

The work, which are part of the Jamaica Development Infrastructure Programme (JDIP), were suspended in January shortly after there was a change of Government.

The JDIP is the umbrella programme under which the island's road infrastructure is being rehabilitated and restored over the a five-year period.

According to the ministry paper, total expenditure under JDIP as at May 31, was US$234 million.

The paper noted that for the first two years of JDIP, a total of 116 projects were completed at a cost of US$84.2 million. However, for 2012/13, JDIP has been rescoped to accommodate JEEP and, as such, the funds have been re-allocated as follows:

* US$350 million for road infrastructure projects;

* US$$50 million for JEEP phases I and II;

For 2012/13 the Estimates of Expenditure provides for an expenditure of US$166 million for the financial year as follows:

* JEEP Phase I (March 2012 - June 2013) US$10 million;

* JEEP Phase II (July 2012 - March 2013) US$40 million;

* Ongoing projects US$116 million.

Projects to be restarted under JDIP include the Cassia Park and Queensborough bridges - US$$3.3-m; Christiana Development Road - US$$4.6-m; Rio Grande Bridge - US$$3.3-b.

Twenty-two projects have been reduced in scope, including 16 road rehabilitation projects across constituencies including South West St Andrew, West Central St Catherine, North and North Central Clarendon, West and Central St Mary; St Ann, South West and North West; Manchester, North East; St Elizabeth, South West; St Andrew, East; and Kingston, West, Central; sections of St Thomas and Trelawny.

JDIP was to address identified problems of the road and drainage network of the entire island which has reached a critical stage of deterioration. This is largely due to a barrage of intense named weather systems such as Hurricanes Ivan (2004), Dean (2005), Gustav (2008) and Nicole (2010).

The more than 10,000 km of parochial/community/farm roads which are in severely deteriorated condition is also being addressed by this programme. The deterioration is primarily due to the lack of rationalised periodic maintenance over a long period of time, improper roadway elevations as well as the absence of sustainable drainage systems.

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