News

May Pen leg of Highway 2000 to open tomorrow

May Pen highway leg to shave 12 mins off travel time

BY LUKE DOUGLAS Observer senior reporter douglasl@jamaicaobserver.com

Tuesday, August 14, 2012    

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MOTORISTS using the newest leg of Highway 2000 from Sandy Bay to May Pen, will only take six minutes during peak hours, down from the current 18 minutes on the existing road.

However, it will come at a cost of between $60 and $180 per trip.

But the developers for the highway — which ends at a new round-a-bout west of Mineral Heights — are quick to point out that in addition to saving time on the new road, motorists will benefit from reduced petrol use and wear on their vehicles.

This according to an e-mailed response to the Jamaica Observer from advertising firm Advertising and Marketing on behalf of Highway 2000 East-West.

The 10.5-kilometre-long May Pen leg is scheduled to open tomorrow, Wednesday, August 15 at 1 pm.

With the new leg, motorists will be able to circumvent bottlenecks, particularly in the Mineral Heights/Aluminum Way area, the firm stated.

"At the permitted speed, the travel time from Sandy Bay to May Pen is expected to be reduced by at least two thirds: from approximately 18 minutes to approximately six minutes. Westbound motorists travelling to destinations via the Old Harbour or Freetown areas may exit the highway at off-ramps to these townships after passage through the Vineyards Toll Plaza — at which our rates have not been increased since 2009," the response continued.

At Vineyards, close to Old Harbour, St Catherine, the rates are $270 for Class 1 vehicles, $370 for Class 2 and $700 for Class 3.

A Class 1 vehicle is defined as being less than 1.7 metres high, but of any length; a Class 2 vehicle is more than 1.7 metres high, but less than 5.5 metres long; and Class 3 more than 1.7 metres high and more than 5.5 metres long.

The e-mail did not answer a question about the construction cost of the May Pen leg, but said there had been no cost overrun. In fact, it said the project was completed ahead of schedule, thanks to good weather over the past two years.

"While we are unable to disclose sensitive financial information, we can advise that no cost overruns have occurred as a result of the early completion of the May Pen leg of Highway 2000 East-West. Our finishing ahead of schedule is largely attributed to the fact that works were not impacted by adverse weather conditions which our timeline mechanisms took into consideration, given that much construction was carried out during the 2011 and 2012 hurricane seasons," the company stated.

Highway 2000 also said all appropriate road markings and signage will be distinctly visible once the road opens, in keeping with international standards. It said, too, that it has installed several environmentally friendly street lights along the highway and its interchanges.

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