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Minister of Transport and Works, Michael Henry, on Friday (Feb.19) broke ground for the widening and reconstruction of the eastern end of the Washington Boulevard corridor in Kingston.
The project, which is expected to last for 16 months, will involve 2. 75 kilometres of roadway from the Molynes Road intersection to the junction at Dunrobin Avenue and Constant Spring Road.
The road work, which will be undertaken by Surrey Paving and Aggregate, will involve the widening of the roadway from two to six lanes; reconstruction of the existing pavement; construction of boundary walls along the new road alignment; putting in sidewalks, curbs, drains, box culverts and retaining walls; and the building of three major bridges structures.
“(The bridges include) an overpass at Red Hills, the one spanning the Rochester and Red Hills Road gullies, as well as the extension of two existing bridge structures along the corridor,” Minister Henry informed.
Traffic signals will also be installed at five intersections along the corridor as well as street lights. In addition, sewage and water distribution lines will be installed along the entire stretch of roadway.
According to Minister Henry, the project is expected to improve traffic volume capacity thus reducing congestion along the corridor; improve traffic safety; reduce travel time and overall vehicle operating cost; and assist the government with the establishment of the vehicle weight enforcement programme.
He noted further that the work is critical as the Washington Boulevard corridor carries the third largest volume of traffic in the Kingston Metropolitan area during peak hours.
“It will afford much transportation improvement along the wide sections of the corporate area and indeed, the wider Kingston Metropolitan Transport Region”, he stated.
A traffic management system has been put in place for the duration of the project, including a mandatory requirement that two lanes of traffic be maintained while the road work is being undertaken.
Member of Parliament for East Central St. Andrew, Dr. Peter Phillips, in his remarks at the groundbreaking, noted that the project will make an important contribution to the flow of traffic and the continued production of the population.
He urged good sense and cooperation from all those who will be working on the project, noting that it will benefit the whole country.
Member of Parliament for North East St. Andrew, Derrick Smith in bringing greetings, also welcomed the project.
Funded by the Government and the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), the project seeks to enhance productivity by reducing the economic loss to the country as a result traffic congestion, and decrease fuel consumption and vehicle operating cost due to poor ride quality.
It is estimated to cost US$23.4 million, with an approved loan from the CDB of US$14.78 million, and the remainder of US$8.6 million to be financed by the Government.