JIS News

Story Highlights

  • The National Road Operating and Constructing Company (NROCC) is reporting that the North South Highway Project is over 70 per cent complete, heading into its 2016 first quarter opening.
  • Managing Director of NROCC, Ivan Anderson informs JIS News that paving work has started on Section 3, “which is almost the final phase of the highway construction.”
  • He points out that unlike other sections of Highway 2000, the North South leg is unique, and the only time you will go through a toll plaza is either at the end or the beginning of the journey.

The National Road Operating and Constructing Company (NROCC) is reporting that the North South Highway Project is over 70 per cent complete, heading into its 2016 first quarter opening.

Managing Director of NROCC, Ivan Anderson, who led a recent tour of the roadway to provide an update on the progress of construction, informs JIS News that paving work has started on Section 3, “which is almost the final phase of the highway construction.”

He points out that unlike other sections of Highway 2000, the North South leg is unique, and the only time you will go through a toll plaza is either at the end or the beginning of the journey.

“There are no intersections, no stop signs, and no traffic lights. Every time you pass an existing road, it either has to be above, or below the highway,” he informs.

Noting that this section of Highway 2000 is called a “closed highway,” Mr. Anderson explains that “in order to get on the highway, you have to go through a toll plaza, and to get off, you have to go through a toll plaza.”

“When you get onto the highway, you get a tag, and when you are getting off, you give them the tag, and that computes how far you have travelled along the highway, and how much you need to pay,” he adds.

To protect residents living near where the highway runs, NROCC has ensured that the developer, China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC), build sound walls, “which are designed to minimise the noise from the highway on the communities,” Mr. Anderson says.

He notes that NROCC acquired some 350 parcels of land, including 150 houses, and large buildings which housed businesses, for the construction of the highway, and that “everybody has been compensated.”

Planners and economists have documented that investment in transportation infrastructure generates substantial economic benefits by reducing transportation costs for existing activities, providing access to new areas with economic development potential and triggering investment activities.

Additionally, there are measurable savings in vehicle operating costs and savings in travel time cost associated with the development of highways.

It is commonly accepted that investments in highways do have a significant impact on economic growth in developing countries.

An analysis of World Bank-funded infrastructure projects over the period 1974 to 1992, showed that the average economic rate of return of highway projects was the highest at 29 per cent among all other types of projects funded. Other estimates have shown rates of return on highway projects in excess of 50 per cent.

As the country develops in the new Millennium, the demand for a more efficient transportation system is ever increasing.

Mr. Anderson reasons that with three million visitors going to the North Coast annually, “if those visitors could come to Kingston, and enjoy what we have to offer, that could have a significant impact on Jamaica.”

“Similarly, if the people in Jamaica could move easily across the North Coast, they could also take advantage of the things there,” he notes, adding that the highway will also provide options to where people work and do business.

“A teacher in Portmore (St. Catherine), can get to Ocho Rios (St. Ann) as easy as going to the University of the West Indies, at Mona, so it is going to change the way people move and work in Jamaica,” Mr. Anderson says.

The highway, which is being built at a cost of US$600 million, covers some 230 kilometres, and begins in the Caymanas Estate area of St. Catherine, and runs to Mammee Bay, in St. Ann, where it will join the existing North Coast Highway.

Highway 2000 is intended to serve as a catalyst for Jamaica’s economy, through direct and efficient links between major economic centres, cities and towns, as well as growth points, and also provides options of bypassing congested roadways.