$163m contract signed to rehab section of major roadway in St James Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

A contract valued at $163.5 million was signed on Monday morning for the rehabilitation of 1.8 kilometres of road from Friendship to Hurlock in St James under Phase Three of the comprehensive roadworks being undertaken on 19-kilometres of road from Fairfield to Point in the parish.

Ironically, hours before the contract signing, motorists blocked between Friendship and John’s Hall in the parish to protest the deplorable road conditions, and demanded the expedition of rehabilitation.

Scenes from the roadblocks are carried in a video below.

The residents, who used down trees and any other debris they could find to block the roadway, said they were fed up with the deteriorated conditions of the roadway.

Several commuters, including students, were forced to walk, as motor vehicular traffic was impossible.

Speaking at Monday morning’s signing ceremony at Jamaica House, Prime Minister Andrew Holness said the proposal was for the entire stretch from Fairfield to Point to be rehabilitated in three phases, as it would prove too costly to undertake the entire project all at once.

“If we did it at once, it would cost probably about $1.5 billion just to do a 19 kilometre road. So that means several other communities in Jamaica would not be attended to, so we had to do it in small pieces,” the prime minister stated.

To date, two phases have been completed along the Fairfield to Point corridor.

Under Phase One, 1.6 kilometres of roadway was rehabilitated between Fairfield and Retirement, and from the Fairfield Bridge to Taylor Avenue at a cost of $74 million.

Phase Two saw another 2.3 kilometres of the roadway being rehabilitated starting at Taylor Avenue to Friendship at a cost of $114 million.

Phase Three is being funded by the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) and the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation (MEGJC) through the Maintenance of Secondary Roads Programme.

Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Everald Warmington, said the rehabilitation of the road is critical, as it is in a deplorable condition and is heavily used, as it is one of the gateways to upper St James and links the parish of St Elizabeth.

“It connects the rural section of Southern St James such as Maroon Town, and Garland, Eddersle, Maggoty and Balaclava in St Elizabeth with the city of Montego Bay. Along this controlled section are several residential communities, commercial entities and tourism… , such as Estuary Housing Scheme, Johns Hall Adventure Tours, Hall Aggregates, Crighton Quarry and the Retirement landfill,” said Warmington.

The design for Phase Three comprises more than 50 millimetres of sub-base, 150 millimetres of base course, and 75 millimetres of asphaltic concrete overlay is to be added.

“This design is necessary based on the high traffic volume, especially with the heavy-duty vehicles associated with the quarries, landfill and all the commercial activities in that locale. Additionally, the impact of these large units on the pavement, as they often exceed the limit of their axle loads, necessitates this design”, added Warmington.