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Motorists using the flood-prone Bog Walk Gorge in St. Catherine will soon be provided with a reliable early warning system to alert them to dangerous conditions in the area.

State Minister in the Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing, Hon. Richard Azan, has said that the National Works Agency (NWA) will be installing closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras and radios in the gorge at a cost of some US$273,000.

He made the announcement during his Sectoral Debate presentation on Wednesday, June 5, in the House of Representatives.

Mr. Azan said the system “will enable real time detection of and response to emergency conditions such as flooding and major accidents within the gorge; facilitate real time video monitoring of control gates before, during and after an emergency event.”

He also noted that motorists and nearby communities will be provided with early warning of potential flooding within the gorge and advanced notice of closure of the roadway.

“I am pleased to announce that this system is being realised through a public/private partnership, which brings together funding from the Government of Jamaica (GOJ) and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), with support from telecommunications companies FLOW, Digicel and LIME, through the provision of access to their fibre optic links and communication towers,” Mr. Azan announced.

He noted that the project is being supported by the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM), the police and the Ministry of Finance and Planning.

Mr. Azan also informed that the Ministry will move to improve road signage and markings across the island with the installation of 500 traffic signs and 225 linear kilometres of road marking lines.

In addition, the NWA will be undertaking the construction of a 1.5-kilometre multi-use path for pedestrian and bicycle traffic along the Norman Manley Boulevard, in Negril, Westmoreland at a cost of US$275,000.

Other projects will include the construction of sidewalks and medians within the Papine circle, St. Andrew, costing US$400,000; and the installation of cables, to be used instead of guard rails, in selected areas around the country, at a cost of US$985,000.

“The cable system will allow us a higher degree of flexibility in terms of being able to re-use materials even after an accident. The cables, unlike the traditional guardrails can be salvaged and re-used, even after an accident. This will save us millions,” Mr. Azan noted.

Contact: Andrea Braham