JIS News

Toll being collected on the first phase of Highway 2000, which covers the dualisation of the Old Harbour bypass, is running at 30 per cent above projections up to March 2004.
Actual tolling began on September 25 last year on the first 12 kilometres of the roadway and up to March this year, in excess of two million persons have paid toll at the booths, Chairman of the National Road Operating and Construction Company (NROCC), Kingsley Thomas has informed. “That is 30 per cent above what we had projected with an average of 11,000 paying vehicle trips per day”, he pointed out.
He said that work was continuing on the road development project, which includes the section of the roadway from Mandela Highway to Williamsfield, and the construction of a new six-lane bridge across the Portmore causeway. He announced that the Mandela Highway to Bushy Park segment should be completed before Christmas this year, while the six-lane bridge would be completed in 2005.
Mr. Thomas informed that developments along the Highway 2000 corridor would include a new town at Inverness, plus rest stops along the way, designed in the manner of those in North America. He said that 4,400 hectares of land have already been acquired for that project.
In addition, Cabinet has taken a decision that several thousand hectares of land would be developed as prime real estate and a moratorium has been placed on the use of some of these lands.
Turning to the North Coast Highway Project, which stretches from Negril to Portland, Mr. Thomas said that with the Negril to Montego Bay leg completed, work was advanced on the segment to Ocho Rios. He noted that representatives from financiers, the European Union, were currently in the island to finalise contractural arrangements relating to segment three, from Ocho Rios to Portland.
He explained that only one company had made a bid for that contract and “it is therefore a question of whether they will allow us to negotiate with that one company or go back to tender, which would delay the whole process for another 18 months.”
The NROCC Chairman underscored the importance of the highway projects towards spurring economic growth and the creation of employment.
“Every country in the world that has seen significant growth, has done it through the provision of proper transportation road infrastructure. United States, Malaysia, any country at all.transportation network is number one in terms of spurring economic growth”, he stated.

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