NWA says it's committed to limiting the impacts of current road works

BY SHANAE STEWART
Observer staff reporter
stewarts@jamaicaobserver.com

Monday, March 11, 2019

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NATIONAL Works Agency's (NWA) Manager of Communication and Customer Services Stephen Shaw has accepted that the agency is beset by challenges in the execution of the current road improvement works in the Corporate Area, but says it has been making efforts to ease the effects on the commuting public as well as residents of the affected areas.

“We have managed to improve dust control, safety and traffic management on our project sites, but far more needs to be done to improve driver comfort and pedestrian safety,” Shaw admitted at a meeting of the Rotary Club of Spanish Town Tuesday last.

He even apologised “unreservedly for any case where...stakeholders were unduly exposed to situations where due and stipulated care was not taken to ameliorate the hazardous conditions along any one of these work zones”.

Shaw said further that the NWA was not entirely pleased with safety and traffic management on the worksites, but stressed that it would continue to use all measures and recourses available to keep the areas as safe and dust-free as possible.

“For example, in recent weeks the NWA has lent its own water truck to the Hagley Park project to supplement the five sprinklers which all three contractors have employed on the site. We have gone further to add a molasses-based road bond agent to the water we use to wet areas, effectively holding the loose dust particles longer, which has brought longer periods of relief to residents and business operators along the stretch,” he said.

Shaw contended that the planning of the projects was well thought out and well intended.

“Despite the impediments, we have met within the implementation phase thus far. We still endeavour to uphold our obligations to stakeholders to maintain access to their properties properly, secure the work sites, and provide advanced notice of our traffic management plans,” he added.

He continued: “We have sufficiently learnt the practical lessons from Hagley Park Road, Constant Spring Road and the Mandela Highway and can now better anticipate the snags to help to guide us in how we implement the recently announced South Camp Road works, which is another Major Infrastructure Development Programme (MIDP) project. The project will see us removing the constriction at the Tom Redcam Drive and Arnold Road intersections by widening the corridor to four lanes towards the eastern side of the roadway.”

Shaw explained that, according to the plans, the Arnold Road/South Camp Road intersection will feature a set of traffic lights, and the main entrance to the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) will be relocated to Canon Gate.

“This is yet another project in aid of improving traffic management at critical points in the Corporate Area road network. This will serve to eliminate the delays motorists face with traffic leaving and entering the JDF's current entrance onto the main roadway,” he said.

The MIDP project is a US$352.941 — million programme jointly financed by the China Exim Bank and the Government of Jamaica (GoJ). The China Exim Bank has provided 85 per cent financing by way of a loan and the GoJ has provided the remaining 15 per cent of the programme funds.

Some major Corporate Area corridors being executed under the programme are: the widening from two lanes to four of a one-kilometre stretch of Barbican Road between Russell Heights intersection and the gas station at Jacks Hill; the widening from two to four lanes of a 4.2-km stretch of Constant Spring Road between West Kings House Road and Manor Park; the widening of 11 1/2 km of Mandela Highway from two lanes to three in either direction; and the widening of Hagley Park Road, which will feature an overpass at Portia Simpson Miller Square.


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