The Lengthman Programme is slated to come on stream in the coming months, to assist with the maintenance of roadways across the island.
This was disclosed by Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Hon. Everald Warmington, during his contribution to the 2021/22 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on May 5.
He noted that the original concept of a lengthman is that an individual would be employed to maintain a specified length of roadway in the area that he resides.
“On a monthly basis, the road sections, under the programme, would be checked by government personnel to ensure that the work is up to par and to approve payment to the responsible individuals. If the work is not up to the required standard then payment will not be approved until it is,” Mr. Warmington said.
“We believe that two obvious advantages of this type of programme is that an individual is more likely to take pride and care in the maintenance and beautification of a roadway in his community, as he is directly benefiting from it.
The community members, also, would likely know which individual is responsible for which section of road and would emit pressure on that individual to ensure that the work is done properly,” he added.
The Minister informed that the new Lengthman Programme is conceptualised as a technology-enabled, performance-based, labour-intensive, preventative maintenance programme for inter-parish roads and high-trafficked corridors that would be executed by local community labour.
Some 62 corridors have been identified islandwide for inclusion in the new programme. These 62 roads would account for 600 kilometres of roadway to be maintained.
Mr. Warmington said the concept is similar to the original programme insofar as the maintenance of the roadways is concerned, and that the role of the lengthman, under this revamped programme will, however, be expanded.
“On the assigned section of roadway, a lengthman will be responsible for debushing, clearing debris, cleaning drains and culverts, as well as repairing minor damage to the road, the road shoulders and retaining walls. The lengthman will also be expected to assist the National Works Agency to leverage advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) technology,” he said.
Road conditions and road assets will be logged in a database, which will help to enhance investment decisions for pavement maintenance, preservation, rehabilitation and replacement.
The information gathered will also assist in predicting future performance of the roadway and its infrastructure.
Mr. Warmington informed that before the programme is fully rolled out, a pilot project will be instituted that will serve to inform the rollout of the islandwide programme.
The pilot area will span Dunrobin Avenue, in St. Andrew to Twickenham Park Road in St. Catherine. It will encompass Washington Boulevard, Dunrobin Avenue, and the entire length of the Mandela Highway, which is a highly trafficked area, approximately 16 kilometres in length, and spanning seven constituencies.
With an initial budget of $500 million, the pilot will have four components: visual inspections, preventative maintenance, mapping of road assets, and environmental stewardship
“The preventative maintenance aspect will include debushing, debris removal, side-drain cleaning, vegetation control and/or minor surface repairs to the road, road shoulders and retaining walls. It will not include road extensions or any new road construction,” Mr. Warmington said.
“The data-collection aspect will be in relation to the condition of the road, whether there are potholes and faded markings. It will also take into account road furniture such as signage, protective devices or safety feature,” he added.
He further informed that the environmental aspect will encompass the collection of litter as well as the educating of road users to raise environmental awareness and promote the protection of the environment.