The Portland leg of Government’s largest road rehabilitation initiative, the Jamaica Development Infrastructure Programme (JDIP), was launched by Minister of Transport and Works, Hon. Mike Henry, Thursday (September 2) at Rafters Rest, St. Margaret’s Bay, Portland.
Minister of Transport and Works, Hon. Mike Henry, addressing the launch of the Jamaica Development Infrastructure Programme (JDIP) in St. Margaret’s Bay, Portland Thursday (September 2). The programme, costing $36 billion, will focus on the upgrading of major and parochial roads, construction and repairs to bridges, drains and retaining walls across Jamaica.
The extensive road project is being funded by the governments of Jamaica and China at a cost of US$400 million (J$36 billion). It will focus on the upgrading of major and parochial roads, the construction and repair of bridges, retaining walls and drains over the next five years.
Speaking at the launch, Mr. Henry lauded Prime Minister Bruce Golding’s vision in implementing the programme.
He said that under the initiative, roads that are in greatest need will be prioritised, adding that emphasis will be placed on the geo-technical studies of some roads, especially those in areas such as the Rio Grande Valley which records the second highest rainfall in the world.
He said that this is necessary to ensure that the ‘”correct approach” is taken with the rehabilitation of the roads.
Minister with responsibility for Information, Telecommunications and Special Projects in the Office of the Prime Minister, and Member of Parliament for Portland Western, Hon. Daryl Vaz (right), and Deputy Project Manager of the Jamaica Development Infrastructure Programme (JDIP)/China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC), Liu Jialin, participating in the launch of the JDIP in St. Margaret’s Bay, Portland, Thursday (September 2).
Stating that government was “rising to the occasion” to improve road access, which is a part of their vision, the Minister said that the Government would not neglect any part of the people’s need.
“Let us therefore build the people’s road, for the future of the people,” he stated.
In his address, Minister with Responsibility for Information, Telecommunications and Special Projects in the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), Hon. Daryl Vaz, who is also Member of Parliament for Portland Western, said it was “one of his proudest moment,” fulfilling his commitments to the parish by attending to the needs of the people.
Mr. Vaz said the JDIP was one of the most significant and far-reaching programmes that the country had ever seen, and he was happy that Portland was at the top of the list.
Stating that the problems facing the Rio Grande and Buff Bay valley communities are “first and foremost on the agenda,” he cautioned that those projects will take some time, as all the funds needed could not be allocated in one financial year.
He called on the residents to take advantage of “this momentous occasion”, and work together to ensure the programme’s success.
Deputy Project Manager of JDIP’s China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC), Liu Jialin, said his organization has brought a wealth of experience to Portland, adding that the highest quality of engineering standards were guaranteed on the project.
He said CHEC is also committed to preserving the natural habitat as “best as possible”, as they execute the project.
Also addressing the launch was Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Works Agency (NWA), Patrick Wong.
He said the initiative aims to improve driver comfort, road safety and the capacity of roads to accommodate high volumes of traffic. He added that all the roads that are repaired will receive an extensive maintenance programme.
“This will ensure that the people benefit from the improved infrastructure for a long time,” he said.
Work to be carried out in the parish under the progamme include, the construction of the 210-metre two-lane Rio Grande Bridge in St. Margaret’s Bay; the rehabilitation of numerous roads, including those between Durham and Coopers Hill; the construction of retaining walls; river training; and periodic maintenance on roads in the Port Antonio and Buff Bay communities.