The National Works Agency (NWA) is assuring the public that drainage structures along the corridor of the Southern Coastal Highway Improvement Project have been significantly improved.
Communications and Customer Services Manager, Stephen Shaw, said the roads are in a “much better state” than they were last year and should be more resilient to varying weather conditions.
He was speaking during a tour of the project on Thursday (June 2), a day after the start of the Atlantic Hurricane season.
“Last year, we had a problem along the road to Cedar Valley by Georgia; there was no bridge there. This year, we have a structure, and so the issues that would have dogged us last year in that area I don’t expect that issue in relation to persons not being able to travel from Morant Bay to Cedar Valley and vice versa,” he explained.
Mr. Shaw showed journalists some of the “improved drainage structures”, such as box culverts or cylindrical culverts, which were observed during the tour.
He was joined by Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Hon. Everald Warmington, senior representatives of the NWA and China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) and other partners in the project. The tour spanned Bull Bay in St. Andrew to Long Bay in Portland.
Mr. Shaw pointed out that the design of the roads was done with certain presumptions, although “sometimes those presumptions don’t hold in sync with what nature delivers”.
He said that residents should be less inconvenienced now than they would have been last year.
“For normal rainfall or rain events, I don’t expect any issues. If they are abnormal, like a Category Five hurricane, you may have challenges in some areas, but the critical thing is the network is more resilient now than last year. In other words, even if you have flooding in some areas, the roadway should become available in a quicker time than it would have been, had we not intervened in the way we have,” he said.
On the eastern end of the island, the Southern Coastal Highway Improvement Project takes into account the roads from Harbour View to Yallahs Bridge, Yallahs Bridge to Port Antonio, and Morant Bay to Cedar Valley.
The project seeks to improve the capacity and alignment of the existing southern coastal main arterial road, to make it safe and efficient, free from flooding and provides for future development.