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JIS News

MONTEGO BAY – Work has restarted on a number of road projects on the northern end of the island, which are being executed under the Jamaica Infrastructure Development Programme (JDIP), while others are set to resume over the next two weeks.

The projects, which span the parishes of St. Ann, Trelawny, St. Ann, St. James and Hanover, were stalled due to disagreement between the main contractor, China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC), and the subcontractors.

State Minister for Transport, Works and Housing, Hon. Richard Azan, who spoke to JIS News during a tour of road projects in Hanover on Thursday (Aug. 23), said that he and a team from the National Works Agency (NWA), met with the parties on Monday (Aug. 20) to iron out the differences, to facilitate resumption of the works.

Within a few days of the meeting, work got underway on the Fern Gully roadway in St. Ann; and the Green Pond and Granville to Retirement roads in St. James. Work is to resume on Monday (Aug. 27), on the Norwood to Ironshore roadway in St. James, while rehabilitation of Cornwall Street in Trelawny, and the Sandy Bay to Montpelier roadway in Hanover, will resume in two weeks.

Mr. Azan acknowledged the inconvenience the stoppage in the works has caused for the residents of the affected communities and thanked them for their patience.

"We have received calls; we have received letters from the citizens associations complaining about the (roads) and for them to restart. We are moving with speed. I have to thank the (contractors), and thank the citizens for holding out for so long, and for undergoing the inconvenience," Mr. Azan said.

Chief Executive Officer of the NWA, E.G. Hunter, who accompanied the State Minister on the tour, said that "there are no outstanding matters to be addressed save and expect for the contractor to do his due diligence in ensuring that he has the right workforce. It is entirely in the hands of the contractor, and we are confident that work will start."

"What we have seen, and the reports that we have had, give us tremendous optimism for the deadline of the JDIP programme to be achieved, which is the 31st of March (2013). We want to deliver to the traveling public, good roads, safe bridges and that is what we are about," Mr. Hunter said.

Meanwhile, Member of Parliament for Eastern Hanover, D.K. Duncan, said he will be facilitating goodwill between the contractor and the citizens of Sandy Bay, to ensure that there is no work stoppage.

"We will encourage the citizens … to work as close as possible to ensure that the work can go as smoothly as possible. I believe that once they feel that something significant is being done, we will get the full co-operation of the citizens. My role is to facilitate that smooth working relationship," he stated.