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PM says major road works coming to an end

Observer senior reporter

Friday, March 22, 2019

Prime Minister Andrew Holness on Tuesday apologised to commuters and residents of areas affected by the programme of major infrastructural works. He also used the opportunity to inform the public that the projects are close to completion.

“Over the last four budget presentations, I have used the opportunity to give an update on infrastructure works. Indeed, improving our road infrastructure is critical to productivity, connectivity and building a prosperous new Jamaica,” said the prime minister in his 2019/20 budget presentation.

“If you left the island two years ago and will be returning for the summer, you may not recognise some parts. Jamaica is transforming before our very eyes. And I want to thank the people of Jamaica for their patience, as we move to complete several major road corridors and start others. This year will be the year of unveilings, or rather rolling out of the CYAAPET,” he added.

According to him, the Major Infrastructure Development Programme (MIDP), which is being supervised by the National Works Agency (NWA), under the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, is almost at an end.

The Government and China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) entered into a contract for execution of works including road rehabilitation, the construction of critical retaining walls, islandwide patching of roads, bridge construction, and river training.

He said that, overall, MIDP is 90.9 per cent complete based on financial spend. Approximately, US$320.7 million of the US$352.9 million programme budget has been certified.

Component 1 is 80 per cent complete; Component 2 is 99 per cent complete; and, Component 3 is 93 per cent complete.

NWC ancillary works (which includes the installation of water pipelines and sewerage) are 81 per cent complete. Contractually, the Hagley Park, Constant Spring and Ferris Cross to Mackfield Road Improvement Projects are to be substantially completed by the end June of 2019.

The NWA continues to pursue an aggressive construction schedule with the intention to fast-track these projects.

With regard to bridges, Holness said he went to St Mary and made a commitment to the people of South East St Mary. For years, the Chesterfield Bridge had been down, people were walking in the river. It was a treacherous exercise for all, especially children.

“I too walked the river with the people. I am pleased to report that the Chesterfield Bridge is almost complete and will be available for use by residents of South East St Mary. Promise made, promise kept,” he noted.

He said that the Government has a comprehensive plan to improve bridges, not only in commercial centres but across the country.

“When we are done, the entire Jamaica will be fully developed. The Government is spending almost $500 million on major bridges that are either being erected or constructed in 12 areas,” he stated.

But Holness said that when the Major Infrastructure Development Programme (MIDP) is done, it will be followed by the Greater Infrastructure Development Programme (GIDP.

He said that the Government will be pursuing opportunities for competitive sources of financing, to undertake this proposed third infrastructure Development Programme to significantly improve aspects of Jamaica's transportation network.

While the scope of programme remains under discussion, it is anticipated that the final scope would likely follow the framework established with the MIDP.

The projects selected for this second phase of major infrastructure development are based on technical recommendations, the economic development plan and climate smart considerations, such as the Master Drainage Plan.

Some of the projects being considered and planned include, but are not limited to: a proposal for a Ring Road around the KMA; the extension of the Mandela Highway Improvement Works, from the East West Toll Road Ramp to the Old Harbour Roundabout; improvements to the Half-Way-Tree area.

There will also be construction of several bypasses to both improve travel time and create potential for expansion of several townships, to include: Lucea bypass in Hanover ; Hopewell bypass in Hanover; Annotto Bay bypass in St Mary; Long Hill/Anchovy Bypass in St James; Port Maria bypass in St Mary; Drainage projects to include, Marcus Garvey Drive and Maxfield Avenue in the Corporate Area; May Pen, Santa Cruz, Port Maria and Montego Bay and various other storm-water drainage projects across the island.