To further reduce congestion and improve travel times, several areas across the island are slated to benefit from the construction of bypasses and road improvement works under the Government’s new Greater Infrastructure Development Programme (GIDP).
This was disclosed by Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness during his contribution to the 2020/21 Budget Debate in House of Representatives on March 19.
He noted for instance that the Government is in the process of developing a bypass for Port Antonio which “is very congested and it is limited in its growth by virtue of that congestion.”
The Prime Minister noted that there are also plans for bypasses for Lucea and Hopwell in Hanover, Longhill/Anchovy in St. James, as well as Annotto Bay and Port Maria in St. Mary.
In addition, the programme will see the extension of the Mandela Highway improvement works, from the East-West Toll Road Ramp to the Old Harbour roundabout.
There will also be improvements to Spanish Town Road from Six Miles to Three Miles and from Three Miles to Darling Street.
“We are going to do Lady Musgrave to East King’s Road that is always a congested area (and) we are going to be doing an extension to Dunrobin,” he said.
The Prime Minister noted however that the GIDP is not just a roadworks programme but a true integrated infrastructure programme incorporating road development, water and wastewater, drainage, bridges, sidewalks, street lighting, telecommunications, and sensors.
“These projects are nation-building projects meaning that when you put them down, the capacity of your country will be expanded. So you’re opening up new areas for development, you’re reducing traffic congestion, you’re improving resilience. So these are major projects…and more than likely, they will transition through constituencies,” he noted.
The GIDP will be the successor programme to the Major Infrastructure Development Programme (MIDP) which is scheduled to end in March 2021.
Several multibillion-dollar legacy road infrastructure upgrading projects, aimed at improving traffic flow in the Corporate Area and Westmoreland were undertaken by the National Works Agency (NWA) under MIDP.
These included the US$56-million Hagley Park Road Improvement Project, the US$1.1-million Barbican Road Upgrade Project, the US$19-million Constant Spring Road Improvement Project, the US$64-million Mandela Highway Realignment and Reconstruction Project and the US$24.9-million Ferris Cross to Mackfield Project.
In the meantime, Prime Minister Holness said now that major works on the road projects under MIDP are substantially complete, “most Jamaicans agree that it was a worthwhile initiative and indeed worth the inconvenience.”
“Months of disruption have come to an end and we now see the value in these projects. We have of course, taken public feedback very seriously and we have sought to ensure that the agency understands the importance of coordinating its signage and communication with the public as a fundamental part of its planning and implementation so that the negative public experiences which we truly regret, should be minimised in future major projects,” he said.