JIS News

Chief Executive Officer of the National Works Agency (NWA), Ivan Anderson, has said that a short-term budget of $480 million has been allocated to fund a project to protect the road leading to the Norman Manley International Airport.
Speaking at a recent JIS ‘Think Tank’, at its Half-Way-Tree Road offices, Mr. Anderson said that, “right now we are inviting consultants to come and look at how to protect the entire” strip of area commonly called a “tombolo”.
Previously, he noted, groins protected this tombolo by harnessing sand and other deposits that washed up onto the shoreline. As a result of the recent battering the island received from the passage of hurricane Ivan, “we lost the groins”, Mr. Anderson pointed out. He added that they have not yet been replaced, so the airport road is very vulnerable at this time.
He further explained the rationale for the dunes that are now in place, noting that “the more sand you have, when the waves come in, the strength is reduced as they hit against the sand”. Therefore, plans are in place to further reduce the effects of the pounding waves by erecting a rock structure on the eastern side of the road. This will protect and lessen the impact of waves driven by storm and hurricane force winds.
In explaining the agency’s priority, he cited the impact of the recent hurricanes on the stretch of roadway. “Then, all we had was sand on the roads and it took us about two days to clear the sand but if we lose the road.if there is a break in the road then the entire Port Royal is cut off,” he said. To prevent this crisis, the NWA’s “priority now is to protect the tombolo when it rains”, he added.
Mr. Anderson noted that extensive mapping of flood prone areas has been taking place. This will help to identify most problem areas whenever heavy rains or hurricanes occur. The mapping system is expected to help contractors to better determine safe areas for road construction.
The NWA, Mr. Anderson said, would continue to focus on disaster mitigation and has identified a number of other spots in the Corporate Area that would be targeted.