Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, officially opened the new Cannon Ball Gate entrance at the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) Up Park Camp location in St. Andrew on Tuesday (July 21).
The US$3.8-million project was undertaken as a joint venture between the JDF and the National Works Agency (NWA), with China Harbour Engineering Company as the contracting entity.
It included relocation of the JDF’s main entrance from Cotton Tree Gate to Cannon Ball Gate across from Arnold Road and creating a four-lane gateway; installing new traffic lights and signals at the Arnold Road/Camp Road intersection; construction of a military police guardroom; and installation of automated barriers, closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras and other security features.
Mr. Holness said the road project is part of a larger government programme for improvement of the island’s road network.
He noted that the objective is to address traffic congestion from vehicles entering and exiting Up Park Camp and also reduce crashes along the roadway.
“There were too many crashes here and it was clear that the contributory causes related to the road layout, which resulted in not only accidents but insufficient queuing space for cars waiting to enter Up Park Camp through the main gate, and this contributed to significant congestion along the corridor,” Mr. Holness said.
He noted that as part of the project, new water and sewer mains were installed along with accompanying infrastructure, and utility poles and underground conduits relocated.
“So in effect, what we have done, is not just to create a facility for motor vehicles but… improve infrastructure for telecommunications, for electricity, for road traffic, for pedestrian traffic, for water and for sewage… and improve the drainage,” he said.
Construction of the roadway was completed in April but the official opening was postponed due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The name Cannon Ball Gate is derived from the Cannon Ball Monument that was erected on Arnold Road in the 19th century to commemorate the third West India Regiment, which played a pivotal role in the development and construction of the road.
The original Cannon Ball Monument, which consisted of a single cannon on top of a brick structure, was erected as a landmark until 2010. It has since been restored and is now at the entrance of the new gate.