JIS News

Minister of Transport and Works, Robert Pickersgill, has said that up to December of last year US$91.4 million was spent on the Highway 2000 project.
Minister Pickersgill made the disclosure while responding to questions posed by Member of Parliament for Manchester Northern, Audley Shaw in the House of Representatives on March 9.
He said that of the total, $35.8 million was loaned to the developer, TransJamaica Highway Limited, by the grantor, the National Road Operating and Construction Company (NROCC).
TransJamaican Highway Limited is the project company owned by Bougues Travaux Publics and Autoroute du Sud de la France, which was awarded the contract by NROCC to design, finance, construct, operate and maintain phase one of the project. The company is also authorised to collect, levy and retain tolls in this respect, under the terms and conditions of the concession agreement.
Meanwhile, Minister Robertson said another US$3.2 million was spent by NROCC on land acquisition and utilities relocation.
Answering the question on how much of the funds were guaranteed by the Government through Parliament, the Ministers responded that the Government had issued a guarantee in respect of infrastructure bonds issued by NROCC, which are then lent to the developer. He said that as of December 31, 2003, the amount of funds disbursed under the loan was US$35.8 million.
Highway 2000, which is planned to eventually connect Kingston to Montego Bay and Ocho Rios, was initiated in 1999 by the Government of Jamaica as the main part of a series of government initiatives titled ‘Millennium Projects’.
The multi-lane motorway will connect Kingston in the southeast of Jamaica with the tourism centres of Montego Bay in the northwest and Ocho Rios on the north-central coast, covering 230 kilometres. The highway is being constructed in two main phases.
Phase one covers a 74-kilometre distance from Kingston to Mandeville including the construction of a new six-lane bridge across the Portmore Causeway and upgrading of the existing Dyke Road. Phase 1B of the project will cover construction of a divided two by two carriageway toll road between Sandy Bay and Williamsfield and construction of toll plazas at May Pen and Williamsfield. Phase one is budgeted at approximately US$390 million.
The project has been developed using a build-operate-transfer model under a public/private sector partnership system, whereby the cost of construction is shared between the private sector and government. Under the concession agreement, the project will revert to the government at no cost, after 35 years.
The public/private partnership of Highway 2000 include NROCC, a state-owned company, which was authorised by the Transport and Works Ministry to delegate to the project company, the obligations to design, finance, construct, operate and maintain the highway; as well as to levy, retain and collect tolls with respect to the toll road usage.
In addition, the Jamaican branch of Bougues Travaux Publics is contracted to design, and construct Phase 1a of the project in February of 2002 and this includes the Old Harbour dualization (13 km); Kingston to Bushy Park (21 km) including the Spanish Town Ramp Plaza; and the Portmore Causeway.
The main objective of the project is to upgrade the island’s infrastructure, provide opportunities for growth, and create jobs through the provision of direct and efficient links between the major economic centres, and reducing congestion on the existing road system.
Other objectives are to reduce population pressures on the major urban centres; facilitate commuting from suburban and rural areas; increase the safety of motorists; and reduce vehicle operating costs by an estimated 29 per cent through the use of higher standards of highway design.

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