KINGSTON, Jamaica— The National Works Agency (NWA) says it is undertaking a rapid assessment to ascertain the full extent of the impact of the rains from Tropical Storm Ian, as well as to determine the need for additional remedial measures.
Prime Minister Andrew Holness, made the disclosure during a statement to the House of Representatives on Wednesday, September 28.
“The very preliminary estimate to reopen roads and make surfaces drivable is $360 million. It might increase a little bit more but, thankfully, it’s not in the billions. The cost for permanent repairs is being assessed, and over the next two weeks I will update Parliament as to what those will be, certainly, for the repair of retaining walls that have been destroyed,” Holness told the House.
Holness said that focus has been placed on clearing roads, with primary consideration given to those corridors that first responders, such as the Jamaica Public Service (JPS), National Water Commission (NWC) and the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM), would be required to use.
“This would include the clearing of debris and other material that could have washed on to the road and any landslides. As of today, [in] most if not all the areas… water… would have already receded,” he noted.
Holness informed that several communities, especially within the parishes of St Catherine and Clarendon, were impacted by the flood rains, noting that there are reports of damaged roads to varying degrees, especially in low-lying areas.
Other parishes affected include Kingston, St Andrew, St Elizabeth, Westmoreland, Trelawny and Portland.
A preliminary assessment by the NWA indicates that approximately 47 roads islandwide were badly affected by landslides, mudflow, downed trees, or inundation, which rendered some communities inaccessible.
“All roads have been reopened, with the exception of the corridors from Chapelton to Rock River, McNie to Douglas Castle, St Johns to Pedro River and Thatch Walk Bridge in Aenon Town,” Holness disclosed.
The Alley Road in Southern Clarendon was damaged due to the Rio Minho overflowing and scouring a small section of the northern approach to the bridge. Access to this roadway has been restored, he added.
The prime minister further stated that the road from lower Chapelton to Rock River suffered a breakaway in the community of Sutton and will have to be rebuilt.
Meanwhile, Holness said that the work to clear affected corridors is being done by private contractors under the agency’s Framework Agreement.
The agreement speaks to the application of pre-set rates for the engagement of different types of equipment in carrying out road clearance works under emergency circumstances.
In addition, Holness said designs are being done for the repair of damaged roads and retaining walls as required.