Scores of anxious and jubilant residents turned out at the Paul Bogle Round-A-Bout in Morant Bay to hear Transport and Works Minister, the Hon. Mike Henry, representatives of the China Harbour Engineering Company Limited (CHEC); along with the National Works Agency Team announce the road improvement plans in store for the parish. The improvements are part of Jamaica Infrastructure Development Programme (JDIP), the single largest infrastructural development programme in Jamaica’s history. The programme is geared at significantly improving the island’s road network, in an effort to improve the lives of the people and foster national economic growth and prosperity.

The JDIP is an innovative partnership between the Governments of Jamaica and China, and is largely being financed by the Export Import EXIM Bank of China, along with the Road Maintenance Fund here in Jamaica. Collectively, a total of US$400 million or approximately JA$36 billion is to be spent on the project over the next five years, running into 2015.

“I am sure you are all happy to be within sight of real improvements in respect of your public infrastructure and I am quite happy to be the head of the team to deliver these well-needed improvements. All I am calling for is public support and co-operation to ensure smooth implementation of the works in the various communities. That, I believe, I can rest assured about, as the communities’ contribution to the programme.”

Under the Jamaica Development Infrastructure Programme, the infrastructural works which are to be tackled initially in St. Thomas include Roads (Rehabilitation) at

Arcadia Avenue, Middleton, Stewart Mountain, Lloyds, Springfield and Bath to Barrett’s Gap. There will also be River Training along the Johnson River, Morant River, Plantain Garden/Island River, Stony Gut and Monticott River.

 In addition, a Retaining Wall will be constructed at Llandewey, while Roads Maintenance (Periodic) will take place atMorant Bay to Wilmington (Queen Street);

Morant Bay to Lyssons (Lyssons Road); Morant Bay to Port Morant (Port Morant Main Road); Pleasant Hill to Hectors River; Port Morant to Pleasant Hill among others.

The programme will, importantly, involve roads and road furniture, and will also involve both main and parochial roads in keeping with the pending single road authority focus of the Government. The improvement programme is being done in concert with the Department of Local Government and the local Parish Councils, with Chinese construction firm, China Harbour Engineering Company Limited (CHEC) being the general contractor for the implementation of the programme.

These developments which will result include:

  • Improved driver comfort along the roadways generally, both main and parochial roadways.
  • Improved road safety
  • Improved traffic management in town and city centres
  • Road rehabilitation generally.
  • And very importantly, more effective periodic maintenance of road infrastructure.

In recent times, the National Works Agency has been able to complete a number of major projects in St. Thomas, while doing maintenance work generally. These major projects include the following:

  • Phase One of the protective works at Roselle
  • Construction of two Bailey bridges at Georgia
  • Erection of retaining wall and other rehabilitative works at Grants Pen
  • Major river training works at Spring Bank
  • Major river training works along the banks of the Yallahs River
  • Construction of a new bridge at Seaforth