- Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller On Thursday (February 4) symbolically commissioned the section of the North-South Highway from Angels, just outside Spanish Town, to Linstead in St. Catherine.
- Travel on the newly opened section will be free of cost temporarily.
- The opening of the Angels to Linstead leg of the highway provides Jamaicans with the option of bypassing the often dangerous Bog Walk Gorge, which, for centuries has been the main thoroughfare for persons travelling from Kingston to the North Coast.
Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller On Thursday (February 4) symbolically commissioned the section of the North-South Highway from Angels, just outside Spanish Town, to Linstead in St. Catherine, to join the leg opened last year which now ends in Moneague. The recently built roadway will be open to the public for travel as of next Monday (February 8). Travel on the newly opened section will be free of cost temporarily.
The opening of the Angels to Linstead leg of the highway provides Jamaicans with the option of bypassing the often dangerous Bog Walk Gorge, which, for centuries has been the main thoroughfare for persons travelling from Kingston to the North Coast.
“Today, we signal the dawning of a new day in travel and economic development. This is an indication of my Government’s commitment to modernising Jamaica. We are building first world infrastructure and providing first world services for the Jamaican people,” Prime Minister Simpson Miller declared, as she gave the keynote address of the opening ceremony.
She noted that the project’s completion is delivery on the promise she made in August 2014 when she opened the Linstead to Moneague section of the Highway. The work on the North-South Highway network began with the Mount Rosser Bypass in 2007.
Describing the road as “a development whose time has come,” Prime Minister Simpson Miller noted that this ultra-modern alternative to the Bog Walk Gorge will be of practical benefit to all Jamaicans. The main objective, she explained, is to upgrade the country’s infrastructure and assist in providing economic opportunities for growth and the creation of jobs.
“Jamaicans will now have greater choices of where to live, work, do business and engage in recreation. This, we expect, will trigger a massive expansion in business, housing and planned settlements along the corridor of the new highway,” the Prime Minister pointed out.
In addition to those benefits of the mega-infrastructural investment, the Prime Minister said it will be the catalyst for more rapid expansion in the hotel and tourism industry.
“The Government, as part of the agreement for this US$720 million highway development, has made lands available to the developer, China Harbour Engineering Company for hotels, housing and commercial developments. One of the areas slated for development, Mammee Bay will see the construction of resorts which will add more than 2,000 hotel rooms, and 500 new homes,” Mrs. Simpson-Miller reported.
The road construction is also providing jobs for numerous persons. “I am informed that over 2,000 persons are currently employed on this project, 1,522 Jamaicans and 658 Chinese. They are working hand-in-hand to shape a modern highway,” the Prime Minister observed.
Noting that the government has made Jamaica attractive for mega investments, the Prime Minister added that the highway, which is only the beginning of such massive infrastructure investments, is a major vote of confidence in Jamaica by China Harbour Engineering Company Limited and the Chinese Government.
Mrs. Simpson-Miller expressed gratitude to the Government of the People’s Republic of China; and appreciation and commendation to China Harbour, referring to company a trusted partner in Jamaica’s continued development. She also lauded the Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing under the leadership of Minister Dr. Omar Davies for its ministerial oversight of the project, while acknowledging the work of the National Road Operating and Constructing Company (NROCC).
“The entire country has waited patiently yet anxiously for the Jamaica North-South Highway. This Highway will stand for more than 100 years as a marvel of modern engineering. It will hold pride of place as the centre-piece of the Millennium Projects Programme initiated by the Government of Jamaica to upgrade Jamaica’s infrastructure which was first announced by former Prime Minister P. J. Patterson,” the Mrs. Simpson Miller stated.
Officials participating in the opening function included, Dr. Omar Davies; His Excellency Niu Qingbao, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China; Minister with Responsibility for Sport in the Office of the Prime Minister and North Central St. Catherine Member of Parliament Natalie Neita Headley.