JIS News

The government is to undertake a major multi-million dollar road improvement project, the Jamaica Road Development Infrastructure Programme, over the next five years, Transport and Works Minister, Hon. Michael Henry, has disclosed.
Speaking at Thursday’s (February 18) post-Cabinet media briefing at Jamaica House, Mr. Henry informed that the project, which will comprise two components, will cost some US$465 million.
The government, which will provide a portion of the funding, has negotiated a US$398 million loan facility with their Chinese counterparts, who are making the funds available through the Export/Import Bank of China. The National Works Agency (NWA) will implement the project, which commences in April with work along the Palisadoes peninsula in Kingston.
“This (programme) will see work on the island’s network of roads, bridges and drains (resulting in) increased capacity of roads to handle vehicular volume; improved traffic management in town and city centres; rehabilitation of approximately 300 kilometres of parochial roads (and) 270 km of main roads; and better periodic maintenance of roads,” the Minister outlined, while adding that upwards of 18,000 jobs will be generated during each year of the undertaking.
Noting that the project is the “largest and most comprehensive single infrastructure programme to be implemented in Jamaica,” Mr. Henry informed that roadways in several key areas would receive attention during the project period.
These include: Half-Way-Tree, Hope Road, Water Lane, Hagley Park Road, and Marcus Garvey Drive in the Corporate Area; Mandela Highway, Caymanas Crossing and Spanish Town, St. Catherine; Junction Road, St. Mary; Montego Bay, St. James; May Pen, Trout Hall, and Spaulding, Clarendon; and Alexandria and Brown’s Town, St. Ann.
“The upgrading work done as part of Highway 2000 will be continued.(and) improvement along the north coast, specifically the roadway from Port Antonio to Fair Prospect. We also intend to replace the Rio Grande Bridge in Portland; launch a new bridge to replace the Cassia Park ford in Kingston; upgrade the Ocho Rios development road; and construct development corridors for Christiana and Williamsfield, Manchester; and Vernamfield, Clarendon,” Mr. Henry outlined.
The project, the Works Minister further informed, will also incorporate rehabilitation work along the Palisadoes peninsula in Kingston, to include: widening of the roadway by between eight and 12 metres in some sections, thereby increasing the number of vehicular lanes from the existing two, to four; and raising the roadway up to three metres.
Minister with responsibility for Information, Telecommunications and Special Projects in the Office of the Prime Minister, Hon. Daryl Vaz, who also spoke at the briefing, informed that China Harbour Engineering Limited will execute both projects.
He informed that China provided US$58 million of the US$65 million that it will cost for the Palisadoes leg of the project. The interest on the loan is three per cent with a moratorium of three years on the interest and the repayment period is 15 years. The Contractor is China Harbour Engineering Limited.
Regarding the road network infrastructure work, Mr. Vaz advised that China has provided US$340 million of the US$400 million it will cost to execute same, with the government to put up the remainder of the funding. The interest rate is three per cent, with a moratorium of five years and a repayment period of 15 years.