Mandela Highway Expansion on Track

Photo: Dave Reid Motorists travel along the Mandela Highway in St. Catherine, which is being widened from four to six lanes. The US$64-million project is funded through the Major Infrastructure Development Programme.

Story Highlights

  • Work on the expansion of Mandela Highway is on track to be completed by August 2018.
  • The upgrading will include increasing the number of lanes from four to six between Six Miles and the ‘On and Off’ ramps of Highway 2000. The eastbound ramp leading to Washington Boulevard will accommodate two lanes of traffic.
  • The project is part of the Major Infrastructure Development Programme (MIDP), which is being financed through a concessionary loan from the Government of China.

Work on the expansion of Mandela Highway is on track to be completed by August 2018.

The two-year project, which got underway at the end of August 2016, is aimed at transforming the highway into a more efficient carriageway.

The upgrading will include increasing the number of lanes from four to six between Six Miles and the ‘On and Off’ ramps of Highway 2000. The eastbound ramp leading to Washington Boulevard will accommodate two lanes of traffic.

In addition, sections of the roadway will be raised to reduce the risk of the corridor becoming inundated.

The Duhaney River box culvert will be upgraded and a new bridge will be constructed over the Fresh River.

Speaking in an interview with JIS News, Manager of Communications and Customer Service, National Works Agency (NWA), Stephen Shaw, says the project is about 40 per cent to 45 per cent completed.

This includes work on the overhead bridge at Fresh River.

Next to be undertaken is work on the southern abutment near the overhead and the bridge over the Duhaney River near Six Miles.

“We are pushing to get this overhead bridge completed and then we’ll progress towards Six Miles having done the sub-grade work between the Fresh River and the off ramp, to the east-west toll road,” Mr. Shaw says.

He notes that the next important item in so far as the structures are concerned is the completion of the girders, which he explains, are beams used in construction to provide support.

“We have actually started making those and several of them would have been completed already. Some 28 are to be constructed and I believe more than 50 per cent of those would have been done already,” Mr. Shaw informs.

“So, the girders are being done now for the two structures that are already underway and so very shortly we are going to be putting them into position to make way to prepare the formwork, do the steel work and then pour concrete allowing some time for that to cure,” he explains.

“We are going to be moving quickly to put these in and to pave too, so that we can shift the east bound traffic back onto the alignment that they have been accustomed to using, to make way for similar work on the west bound side,” he adds.

Meanwhile, Mr. Shaw informs that improving drainage works is a critical part of the project.

“We actually put in a particular feature because of the hurricane season now being in full effect and based on what happened with the heavy rainfall a few weeks ago, we wanted to ensure that flooding or the occurrence of flooding is significantly mitigated,” he says.

Mr. Shaw says the NWA will also be working closely with the National Water Commission (NWC) to address flooding of the roadway due to damaged pipelines.

In the past, the disruption of NWC mains have resulted in large volumes of water flowing on to the highway, leading to a pile up of traffic, and loss of potable water for nearby communities.

Mandela Highway is a very important road in the nation’s road infrastructure, as it serves as a link between Kingston and the northern, western and southern sections of the island.

Construction is being carried out by China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) under a US$64-million contract.

The project is part of the Major Infrastructure Development Programme (MIDP), which is being financed through a concessionary loan from the Government of China.

 

JIS Social