Repair work is now underway on sections of the Sandy Park Gully, near Liguanea, in St. Andrew, as part of efforts to safeguard lives and properties.
The work, which commenced on November 23, include: strengthening of the retaining wall and invert; repacking, and extensive repair of damage.
Speaking to journalists Tuesday (November 27), following a tour of the area, Minister of State in the Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing, Hon. Richard Azan, said the Government will spend approximately $50 million to undertake the project, which is slated to last for three months.
He said sections of the gully suffered significant erosion prior to, and following the passage of recent heavy rains, and residents had appealed to the authorities to address the deterioration of the structure.
"I made a promise then that work would start very shortly and I’m here this morning to witness its progress,” the State Minister said.
Mr. Azan informed that workers are drawn from communities in close proximity to the project, in order to create employment for the residents.
"It falls in the community and the community members will be employed. The contractor has given me the assurance that those who are working are people from the community,” he stated.
Mr. Azan said that starting next financial year, money will be set aside for the ongoing maintenance of gullies across the island, in an effort to ensure that the structures remain safe.
"We will have to put something in the budget to continue maintaining the structure, especially the invert of the gully, because over time, a small break can lead to the collapse of the gully. We have to make sure that we maintain the work that we are doing now,” he said.
The work forms part of a $700 million repair programme, which is being administered by the National Works Agency (NWA).
Two years ago six members of one family perished when flood waters associated with Tropical Storm Nicole washed away their home, which was perched precariously on the edge of the gully. The house was washed away after a retaining wall fell under the pressure of flood waters.
The contract has been awarded to Y. P Seaton and Associates.