Cabinet has given approval for the purchase of some 446 parcels of land in St. Catherine and St. Ann to facilitate the construction of the North South link of Highway 2000.
The highway development, spanning some 66 kilometres between Caymanas in St. Catherine and Ocho Rios, St. Ann, is being undertaken by Chinese firm, China Harbour Engineering Company Limited (CHEC), at a cost of some US$610 million.
\Addressing a Jamaica House press briefing on Wednesday, March 20, Minister with responsibility for Information, Senator the Hon. Sandrea Falconer, said the developer is now carrying out surveys to decide, which parcels of land are needed for the project.
She said most of the properties are unoccupied, with the rest being residential structures, farm lands, and some commercial establishments.
Ms. Falconer assured that, “Government will ensure that persons affected by the highway are not in a worse off position after its construction” and where it is required, alternative units will be built for vulnerable persons such as the elderly and disabled.
All relocation costs will be covered, she stated.
Managing Director of the National Road Operating and Construction Company (NROC), Ivan Anderson, who attended the briefing, said work on the segments of the project from Caymanas to Linstead, and Moneague to Ocho Rios, will begin later this year and completed by January 2016.
He explained that bushing and clearing has already begun on the Mount Rosser bypass leg (Linstead to Moneague). This section is to be completed by the first quarter of 2014.
In June this year, the Government signed a concession agreement with the Jamaica North South Highway Company Limited, a special purpose company established by CHEC to undertake the development of the highway.
Jamaica North South Highway Company Limited has the right to design, build, operate and finance the toll road for 50 years. As part of this agreement, NROCC must acquire all lands, and where necessary, relocate persons from the affected areas.
By Alphea Saunders, JIS Reporter