Minister of Transport and Works, Hon Michael Henry, broke ground for a US65 million project, aimed at rehabilitating the Palisadoes coastline and improving the roadway which connects Port Royal to Kingston, on Friday (August 20).
The Palisadoes Shoreline Rehabilitation and Protection Project is being undertaken by the China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC), through a loan from the China Eximbank, and is scheduled for completion within 18 months.
At the groundbreaking ceremony at the Palisadoes Road, Mr. Henry said the work would include construction of 2.65 kilometres of rock revetments along the shoreline, on the side of the Caribbean Sea, and 3.6 kilometres on the harbour side from Harbour View to the vicinity of the Gunboat Beach.
Minister of Transport and Works, Hon Michael Henry (seated), operates an excavator under instruction from the driver, Seymour Mitchell, as he breaks ground for the US65-million Palisadoes Shoreline Rehabilitation and Protection Project, Friday (August 20).
The road is to be widened, from the Harbour View Roundabout to the Airport roundabout, in anticipation of future development of Port Royal and the Norman Manley International Airport (NMIA).
Mr. Henry also disclosed that the road is to be raised and drainage facilities constructed on the Caribbean Sea side. He added that 18 street lights are to be installed, and that all the utilities will be placed underground to help to guard against infrastructural damage from natural disasters.
Noting that the Palisadoes strip is the main gateway to the city of Kingston, Mr. Henry said that recreational and other facilities will be developed along the roadway. A 10-metre boardwalk is to be constructed to facilitate walking, jogging and cycling, as well as a lay-by with benches, fishing area and a provision for small food vendors.
The project became necessary as the peninsula has endured years of erosion, resulting from environmental factors, such as storms.
“The idea of this is that we are more and more restricted in where we have a timeframe to complete because, indeed, the environment has an impact and as hurricanes and rains increase, you have less and less time in which to complete the work you have to do,” Mr. Henry explained.
He also assured that all environmental permits have been obtained from the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA), and that the Agency will closely monitor the project to ensure all environmental protocols are observed.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Works Agency (NWA), Patrick Wong, offered an explanation for the decision to increase the number of lanes from two to four.
“We cannot be designing for today. We have to design for the future. If we do not make provisions from now to expand the road from two lanes to four lanes it will be very costly, because you would have to move the revetment works further out to accommodate such a request,” he stated.
General Manager of CHEC, Zhongdong Tang, pledged that the end result would be able to withstand the worst hurricanes, and would be a roadway of which all Jamaicans can be proud.
CHEC is a leading international company in the areas of marine engineering and land reclamation.