Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Works Agency (NWA), Patrick Wong has emphasised that improvement to the Palisadoes strip, is not just about road works, but is part of wider programme to protect the Kingston Harbour.
Speaking with JIS News, Mr. Wong sought to address concerns as to the necessity of developments along that Eastern Kingston corridor. He said the aim is to protect access to the Norman Manley Airport (NMIA), Port Royal, the Caribbean Maritime Institute, and other critical infrastructure along that strip.
“You just have to look at the Kingston shoreline from the harbour surge on Port Royal Street, from Rae Town to Bank of Jamaica, to see what a little storm surge within the harbour can do. Can you imagine if the Palisadoes was not there to prevent that.we would have major damage from Portmore, Newport West to downtown Kingston, so it’s a very important peninsula to the development of Kingston,” he outlined.
Mr. Wong pointed out that the result of the US$65 million development will be a two-lane roadway with two soft shoulders as is required by the NWA’s arterial road design. “At a later date, if the volume of traffic dictates, it can be expanded to four lanes at a minimal cost. This is called planning – if you plan only for what you know today, then it becomes very expensive to deal with tomorrow,” he noted.
The CEO argued that as the Government goes forward with major investments, such as a cruise ship pier for Port Royal, the development of the NMIA, and the development of areas, such as Newport West, the Palisadoes Shoreline Rehabilitation and Protection Project will be integral in protecting these investments.
“It’s not a road project, it’s the Palisadoes shoreline protection works, of which the road is a part,” he explained.
The CEO pointed out that another benefit of the project is that all utilities will be placed underground, from the Harbour View roundabout to the NMIA. The works may also be extended to protect the runway at the airport. “So, the benefit of it is that we will make other improvements,” he said.
Minister of Transport and Works, Hon. Michael Henry, broke ground for the Palisadoes Shoreline Rehabilitation and Protection Project on August 20.
The project is being undertaken by the China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC), through a loan from the China ExIm Bank, and is scheduled for completion within 18 months. The work will include construction of 2.65 kilometres of rock revetments along the shoreline, on the side of the Caribbean Sea, and 3.6 kilometres on the harbour side from Harbour View to the vicinity of the Gunboat Beach.
The road is to be raised and drainage facilities constructed on the Caribbean Sea side, while 18 street lights are to be installed. A 10-metre boardwalk is to be built to facilitate walking, jogging and cycling, as well as a lay-by with seating, fishing area and a provision for small food vendors. The project became necessary as the peninsula has endured years of erosion, resulting from environmental factors, such as storms.