Roadworks on track

Projects set to meet deadlines

By Brian Bonitto
Associate Editor ---
Auto & Entertainment

Friday, February 15, 2019

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LAST year's heavy rains which caused massive flooding along sections of Marcus Garvey Drive and Mandela Highway did not disrupt the timeline for roadworks along these major corridors, according to the National Works Agency (NWA).

“There was no significant impact on the deadlines as a result of the rains,” Natalee Bloomfield, NWA communication officer, told the Jamaica Observer's weekly Auto magazine.

Earlier this year, in response to questions from Opposition spokesman on planning Anthony Hylton, Prime Minister Andrew Holness said the NWA was reviewing the conditions which led to the flooding of sections of Marcus Garvey Drive (in the vicinity of Tinson Pen Aerodrome) and Mandela Highway, on October 23 and November 12, 2018, respectively.

He also assured that the report from the review will be tabled in the House of Representatives when it is available.

Work on the Hagley Park Road Improvement Project, which encompasses sections of Marcus Garvey Drive and Three Miles in the vicinity of Portia Simpson Miller Square in the Corporate Area, began on March 12, 2018. Implemented by China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) and part of the Major Infrastructure Development Programme, the project has a price tag of US$56.4 million and is estimated to last 18 months.

The project will see, among other things, the construction of two overhead bridges along the major thoroughfares.

“The works are currently ahead of the 18-month timeline that was originally given. Based on the rate at which the works are now progressing, it is estimated that the project should be substantially completed by end of July 2019, barring any significant rain or disaster event,” she said.

The communication officer said the uppermost bridge along Marcus Garvey Drive and Hagley Park Road is 70 per cent completed while the other, along Spanish Town Road, is 50 per cent done.

The higher, longer overpass will be constructed along Hagley Park Road and Marcus Garvey Drive. It will be at a height of about 56 feet above the existing road level, while the second, along Spanish Town Road will be seven metres high.

“At the current rate, and notwithstanding adverse rain or issues, both bridges should be completed by end of March 2019,” said Bloomfield.

The upgrade is expected to increase the capacity of the road network by at least 60 per cent, address pedestrian safety, and improve traffic management and vehicle separation. The planned works also include the widening of approximately 3.7 kilometres of roadway.

The NWA spokesperson, meanwhile, said work along the Mandela Highway is 91 per cent completed and the roadway will be ready for six lanes of traffic by the end of March 2019.

“There are several activities still taking place to include the construction of a box culvert across the entire (widened) width of the roadway. This is now under way. Paving activities are also being done, as well as the construction of the median barrier and the completion of the service road and overpass bridge,” she said.

The current upgrading work focuses on 3.6 kilometres of roadway from the Six Miles overpass to the off/on ramps to the Highway 2000 East-West Corridor. Construction is also being carried out by CHEC and costs US$64 million. Work began in August 2016.

Mandela Highway is the most traversed road in Jamaica and sees a total of 80,000 vehicles daily. It is followed by Constant Spring Road with an average of 47,000 daily.

As for the latter, that project has been given an August 2019 deadline. She said the removal, replacement of pipelines, boundary walls and sidewalk construction is currently taking place.

“That is 45 per cent completed. As it relates to the roadworks, on the eastern side (towards Half-Way-Tree), we have completed sub-base works, all the way down to Dunrobin Avenue and base works to Goodwood Apartments,” Bloomfield added.

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