The Melrose Hill bypass in Manchester is to be incorporated into the new alignment of the May Pen to Williamsfield leg of Highway 2000.
This component of the project will entail upgrading of the roadway to a four-lane dual carriageway with a speed limit of 80 kilometres per hour (km/hr).
The development is being done by the Government of Jamaica, through the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation and under the management of the National Road Operating and Constructing Company Limited (NROCC).
China Harbour Engineering Company Limited (CHEC) has been contracted to construct the highway.
Environmental Manager at NROCC, Errol Mortley, told JIS News that the road will intersect the adjacent railway line then terminate just east of a bridge in the vicinity of the Williamsfield roundabout.
“The highway project involves the extension of the Highway 2000 East/West Toll roadway by 28.6 km, from its current end, east of the Rio Minho Bridge in Clarendon, to just before the Williamsfield roundabout in Manchester,” he explained.
Mr. Mortley further informed that the alignment begins at the western end of the existing roundabout at May Pen and continues in a westerly direction.
Additionally, he said it runs across the Rio Minho, parallel to where the existing road (A2) crosses the river.
“The route then continues in a westerly direction, passing south of the Bustamante Highway, the Four Paths community, Osbourne Store, Toll Gate, Clarendon Park, and St. Toolies. The speed limit for this segment of the highway, up to that point, will be 110 km/h,” he informed.
The Environmental Manager pointed out that at the entry point to St. Toolies, the alignment continues through hilly terrain and will have a speed limit of 80 km/h.
“The road will follow a vertical gradient… between St. Toolies and Williamsfield and achieve a change in ground level of almost 100 metres,” he said.
The project is expected to last for 36 months, of which 11 will target the design phase, with construction slated for the remaining 25. It is scheduled to be completed by October 2022.
Significant aspects of the project include construction of five bridges, among them a four-lane 150-metre structure across the Rio Minho; 19 local road underpasses; 38 corrugated steel pipe drainage culverts; and six drainage box culverts.
Mr. Mortley explained that a six-kilometre section of the highway in the hilly area requires cuts of as much as 28 metres in depth, adding that a combination of excavation and blasting is being utilised to establish the formation for the road bed, which also includes filling several limestone depressions.
He pointed out that most of the work to be undertaken is within a Greenfield alignment, with vehicular traffic impact limited to construction of underpasses at the numerous local road intersections.
All crossings, including roads, rivers, streams, drains, and other waterways are accessible by underpasses.
Mr. Mortley emphasised that NROCC has taken steps to ensure minimal impact on the environment during the development.
When completed, the May Pen to Williamsfield leg will see the total travel time from Kingston to Williamsfield reduced to approximately 40 minutes.
Some 300 locals are currently employed for construction works from the different communities in the vicinity of the proposed highway.