JIS News

Minister of Housing, Transport, Water and Works, Hon. Robert Pickersgill, said today (November 14), that he is pleased with the progress of construction being undertaken at the Half-Way-Tree Transport Centre, which is slated for completion in October 2007.
The Minister, who toured the facility, along with officials from Belgium, said that the project has met the expectations of the Government. “I am very pleased with the progress that has been made so far.and clearly the structure is on schedule, and the work is being excellently executed,” he noted.
He said that on completion, the centre would significantly transform the Half-Way-Tree area, as commuters would be placed in more comfortable surroundings, buses would be in better parking zones, and there would be improved time scheduling for the Government-owned JUTC buses.
Stefaan VAN DE KELDER, Project Director of Transurb Jamaica Limited, the Belgium company responsible for executing the project, said that whilst the project had suffered setbacks as a result of the cement shortages earlier in the year, he is pleased with the status of the project as work is still being done within schedule, adding that the roof of the centre would be completed by April next year.
“We had better luck with the weather [this year], so we could reduce the delays that we had as a result of the cement shortages earlier this year and the bad weather we had last year, so we are on schedule,” he said.
Mr. VAN DE KELDER pointed out that when completed, the transport centre would be able to accommodate up to 640 buses per hour, taking into consideration that each bus spent only an average of three minutes at each stop. He also noted that the centre would provide comfortable amenities for travellers, such as restroom facilities, ticket booths, restaurants, mobile phone facilities and other commercial enterprises.
“This is going to be a ‘state-of-the-art’ transport centre. Passengers will not only be able to take the bus, they will also be protected from elements of the weather, be able to purchase their bus tickets and do their shopping. There will also be restaurants and teller machines for instance,” he pointed out.
“Passengers will be able to change their buses in all comfort and security,” he added. The transport centre is being funded through a loan by the Commertz Bank of Belgium, in collaboration with the Government of Belgium, at a cost of $49 million Euros.
To date, the site has had no accidents. There is a complement of 150 Jamaicans and 30 overseas workers.