The ‘Palisadoes Shoreline Protection and Rehabilitation Works’ project, a partnership between the governments of Jamaica and China to restore and protect the Palisadoes shoreline, was launched Wednesday (April 22).
The project, financed by a $65.3 million loan from the China EXIM Bank, will repair and secure the extensively degraded shoreline of the Palisadoes Peninsula in Kingston over 18 months, starting July.
Speaking at the launch at the Palisadoes Road, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Works Agency (NWA), Mr. Patrick Wong, noted that the protection of the shoreline was critical.
The Palisadoes main road is the only access route to Kingston’s major airport, the Norman Manley International Airport, as well as the historic town of Port Royal. However for several hurricane seasons the peninsula, considered one of Jamaica’s most vital pieces of infrastructure, is often made impassable by water and debris, preventing persons from leaving the island.
Chinese Harbour Engineering Company Limited (CHEC) Regional Director for Panama, Jamaica and Colombia, Zhondong Tang, and CHEC Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Sun Ziyu, unveil a plaque during the launch of the ‘Palisadoes Shoreline Protection and Rehabilitation Works’ programme at the Palisadoes Road in Kingston Thursday (April 22).
Mr. Wong said that Palisadoes serves as the first line of defense for the entire Kingston shoreline, and also provides protection in the case of a tsunami. He said work on the project is slated to begin in July.
The contract will be executed by Chinese maritime contractors, China Harbour Engineering Company Limited (CHEC). The Chinese government through the Chinese EXIM Bank is providing 85 per cent financing, while the Jamaican Government will supply the remaining 15 per cent.
“CHEC is one of the premier maritime contractors in the world, and we expect nothing but the highest standard which they reassure they will deliver,” Mr. Wong said.
He explained that the project entails a number of innovative features, including the construction of rock revetment works on the seaside and the harbour side to protect the road from storm surges.
“We are also going to be lifting the road from the Harbour View roundabout to the Norman Manley International Airport roundabout. We are going to be lifting on an average of 1.6 to 2.4 metres, roughly six to eight feet,” he said.
Mr. Wong said that, currently, the existing road is much too low and is under threat every time there are storm surges. He said the contractors will also be building a boardwalk along the Palisadoes, which residents will be able to use for recreational and entertainment purposes such as fishing, cycling and jogging.
“We have also come to an agreement with the JPS (Jamaica Public Service) and they will be running all their power cables underground from the Harbour View Roundabout to the Norman Manley International Airport, whereby we will be better able to withstand any storm surges and wind that might threaten the power lines,” he said.
Mr. Wong said he was confident that the restoration and protection works will be done on time, within budget and will be of superior quality.
Transport and Works Minister, Hon. Michael Henry, said that the roadway, from the Harbour View Roundabout to the airport will be widened from the present two lanes to accommodate four lanes.
He also extended his gratitude to the Chinese government for their assistance, and thanked them for providing 10 scholarships to Jamaican engineers in China.