MANDEVILLE — Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Hon. Audley Shaw says the town of Christiana serves major sections of four parishes where people do their business transactions, making the new development road a very necessary project.
"Christiana is of strategic importance as not only the second largest town in the parish of Manchester, second to Mandeville, it is also the focal trading point. It is the main commercial centre for North Manchester, most of upper Trelawny (Albert Town), sections of St. Ann and Clarendon,” he told journalists on June 16, while on a media tour of the Christiana Development Road, which is being constructed under the Jamaica Development Infrastructure Programme (JDIP).
The Minister, who is Member of Parliament for the area, pointed out that unlike other major towns which have bypasses, businesses in Christiana can be stifled if the development road is not constructed to make the movement of traffic and people much quicker and easier.
He outlined that a major farmers’ market takes place every Wednesday in Christiana, where persons from Central and Western Jamaica wholesale their produce to buyers who make the weekly trip from Kingston, Spanish Town, the North Coast and other areas, which in large measure, keeps the local economy afloat.
“On Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays the place is totally congested… there is no alternative route, except if you drive through Devon and end up at Colleyville, that is 15 miles you would have to drive as the alternative to the main street, because of the congestion on the road. It is more than a bypass, it is a development road where on both sides of the road there will now be new opportunities, and we want to make sure that at the end of the day this is a road that we can all be proud of,” Mr. Shaw said.
The Minister, who was accompanied by personnel from the National Works Agency (NWA), stressed that the road project will facilitate economic expansion, not only for Christiana, but sections of Trelawny, St. Ann and Clarendon.
He said that all the land flanking the new road will be ready for immediate development, and that there are plans to build a cultural centre and municipal park in the area.
The media tour was organised by the NWA to provide update on the progress that has been made on the road project, and to clarify issues relating to the project.
The road is being funded by JDIP, a five-year programme of work to be effected islandwide on roads, bridges, drains and traffic systems. The Government of China, through its Export Import (EXIM) bank, has made available US$400 million (approximately J$36 billion) for the islandwide work improvement project.
By GARFIELD ANGUS, JIS Reporter