Collapse on Junction road linked to 'geotechnical faults'

Collapse on Junction road linked to 'geotechnical faults'

BY SHARLENE HENDRICKS
Staff reporter
hendrickss@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

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THE collapse of an embankment on the Junction main road in St Mary yesterday has been linked to a pre-existent geological feature of the area, according to the National Works Agency (NWA).

Images circulated on social media yesterday morning showed a large part of the newly paved road badly broken, with signs of land slippage into the nearby Wag Water River, interrupting vehicular traffic for most of the day.

Manager for communication and customer services at NWA, Stephen Shaw has since shelved questions about links between rehabilitation work on the major thoroughfare and the collapse of the embankment.

“The rehabilitation would not have anything to do with the failure [of the embankment]. The failure had to do with certain geotechnical faults that are at the particular location, which was not considered under the contract.

“We were aware of it close to the signing of the contract, but it needed detailed assessment and evaluation that would have taken some time, so it was not part of the contractual arrangement,” Shaw told the Jamaica Observer.

He explained that the road where the embankment collapsed had long been compromised by earth movements, recently exacerbated by heavy rainfall. Shaw said that a solution for the problem is yet to be executed.

“We are now in the process of addressing it and there are two things happening. We have a technical solution for the problem that has existed there for a little while. That technical solution has been a bridge in the form of a design that has been costed, and we are looking to get approval from the Government to proceed with the works,” said Shaw.

In the interim, a temporary road has been put in place. In fact, access to the area was restored yesterday evening.

With inclement weather expected across the island this week, Shaw said that plans are also in place to keep the major thoroughfare accessible to motorists.

“We are observing the weather. In fact, the equipment we are using to create the temporary access today, those pieces of equipment are there and so, if the need arises, we will certainly use them to ensure that the motoring public is not unduly impacted,” said Shaw.

Construction works continue at other sections of the four-kilometre-long Junction road project, between the community of Broadgate and Agualta Vale in St Mary.

The roadwork along the major thoroughfare that links Jamaica's capital city to the north-eastern end of the island, which began in November 2017, should have been completed in January 2019. A Jamaica Observer request to the Access to Information Unit regarding the status of the road repair revealed that an additional $519,994,352.71 has been allocated to supplement the original amount of $597,765,238.18.


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