JIS News

The National Works Agency (NWA) has been commended by the Minister of Transport and Works, Robert Pickersgill, for its first-rate response to the reconstruction of the nation’s road network, in the wake of Hurricane Ivan.
Speaking with JIS News, the Minister praised the NWA’s efficient and speedy response to the over 300 distress calls made to its emergency lines over the last three days.
“We received over 338 reports of damaged and blocked roads, and we have so far cleared 160, and 95 per cent of the arterial roads have been cleared. In terms of the main arteries, only the Bog Walk Gorge remains unopened, and even Roselle in St. Thomas, which up until 24 hours ago was closed, is now open. So by and large, the Works Agency has done a tremendous job,” said Mr. Pickersgill.
The Minister pointed out that arterial roads were the priority of the NWA, to be followed immediately by the secondary B and C roads.
An assessment was being carried out on the status of the road network in western Jamaica, revealed Minister Pickersgill. In the interim, the NWA’s Parish Managers have been alerted and the equipment pre-positioned to facilitate the clearing and re-opening of the remaining roads in a timely manner. However, work is continuing apace throughout the eastern parishes of the island.
“As we speak, they are moving up into Mavis Bank.trying to get up to Newcastle and Irish Town to clear those areas north of Papine,” the Minister said. He also lauded the co-operation of contractors, agencies within his Ministry and other citizens who have all chipped in and worked together, to ensure the clearing and re-opening of critical thoroughfares on the road network.
Mention was made of the sterling efforts of Bouygues Travaux Publics, which “along with the Works Agency, cleared the Palisadoes Road in record time, allowing.not for one-lane, but two lane traffic”.
The Minister also spoke of the Master Builders Association of Jamaica and other private sector entities that volunteered their services and equipment for use. However, the Minister made a call for even more public participation in the reconstruction effort.
“We have asked contractors.those who have equipment.we would like to have those equipment made available to clear the roads,” he appealed.
Minister Pickersgill also made an appeal for patience from persons who were still marooned and experiencing various levels of discomfiture, following the passage of the hurricane, as the Ministry, through the efforts of the NWA, was working to restore some normalcy to the road network throughout the island.
“I want to give them the assurance that they are certainly not forgotten,” he said, adding that the NWA was doing its best. He further encouraged persons to call the Agency at the following numbers: 469-6701, 467-3955 and 511- 4214 to report blocked roads.

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