Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Works Agency (NWA), Patrick Wong, says the Palisadoes Road Shoreline Project is not simply a road rehabilitation exercise, but a comprehensive programme for protecting Kingston Harbour.
Mr. Wong was speaking at a press conference called to discuss the project, at the Ministry of Transport and Works in Kingston, Friday (October 1).
The NWA Head emphasised that the project was an important national operation, as it will help to safeguard some of Jamaica’s most valuable resources, located along the Kingston shoreline, such as the Caribbean Cement Company and the Norman Manley International Airport.
He pointed out that the Palisadoes provide protection for several communities, including Portmore, downtown Kingston, Newport West, Harbour View, Rae Town and Port Royal.
Environmental Engineer at the National Works Agency (NWA), Mark Richards (far left), provides a detailed description of the restoration work to be undertaken on the Palisadoes strip in Kingston, during a press conference at the Ministry of Transport and Works in Kingston, on (October 1).
“Without this Palisadoes shoreline, you have already seen some of the damage just by the surge in the Harbour along Port Royal Street, from Rae Town to the Bank of Jamaica where it has undermined the road. You have seen at Caribbean Terrace, which had very little protection, what it can do,” he illustrated.
Mr. Wong said the works will include construction of revetments on both sides of the Palisadoes, and the road will be lifted making it less susceptible to flooding.
He also confirmed that the road to be constructed was not a four-lane highway, but a two-lane thoroughfare with road shoulders on both sides, so motorists can pull over in cases of emergency. A boardwalk will also be constructed for recreational activities.
The CEO said all the relevant analyses have been carried out, to ensure the works do not impact negatively on the environment, and that a consultant has been engaged to monitor this aspect of the project.
“We have thoroughly analysed, reviewed, consulted. We have done all that is required, as good corporate citizens. We have taken everything into consideration but, at the end of the day, we have a call to make: We have to protect the larger environment, which is the environment where people work, live and play,” Mr. Wong said.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA), Peter Knight, said his agency was satisfied that the construction work will not significantly affect the harbour’s plant and animal life.
He said there is no basis for concern about destruction of endemic plants, or disturbance of turtle nesting sites. He added that the area, for which approval has been given, is not a nesting site for turtles, and that whatever plants will be removed, including mangroves, will be relocated until the construction is completed. The NWA has also given a commitment to replant vegetation, which has been lost over the years as a result of storms.
The US$65 million project is being undertaken by the China Harbour Engineering Company, through a loan from the China Exim Bank and is scheduled for completion in two years.