Contracts amounting to just over $1B to undertake repairs to various aspects of the country’s infrastructure were signed at the Offices of the Ministry of Transport, Works & Housing on Thursday May 22, 2015.

The works which will form part of the Major Infrastructure Development Programme (MIDP) will see repairs being done to six roads and three bridges this year. Works is expected to start within two weeks.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Transport, Works & Housing Minister Dr. Omar Davies said, “There is a need for significant investment in infrastructure, in particular, roads and bridges. We all know that we are constrained in terms of the expenditure year, as they call it fiscal space – the amount we can expend within the context of the IMF Agreement. Against this background, we have to be careful in terms of priority.”

And even as the Minister told subcontractors under the Project that they will be expected to perform, he warned them that he would not allow the Programme to be hijacked.

“I say to the members of the political directorate, I know that there is the demand for work but this is about getting value for money in terms of every single contract…I think the society has now passed the stage where anyone feels his power is in terms of allowing road work to take place. If that is his power, the easiest thing is not to allow the works to take place and that will solve all of that,” the Minister declared.

Contracts for work signed included:

May Pen – Hayes- Dawkins Pen    13.70km            $268,214,308.03            S&G Road Surfacing

Riley-Dias-Glasgow                      12.66km            $405,761,360.63            Surrey Paving & Aggregate

Silver Spring-Green Island            10.59km            $186,220,350.00            Chins Construction

Santoy-Orange Bay                     2.41km              $46,049,062.50              Cemex Jamaica Ltd.

Fellowship- Moore Town              7.83km              $161,221,950.00            Dwight’s Construction

Sheffield-Silver Spring                  5.50km              $46,395,000.00              Alcar Construction & Haulage

In addition to having the roads repaired in the parish of Portland, two bridges – Jacob River 1 and 2 are to be repaired at Lime Bush at a cost of $21.2M. Another two bridges in Silent Hill in North West Clarendon and Latium in East Central St. James are to be repaired under the Project this year.

Turning to another infrastructural development, Minister Davies highlighted the fact that the Government has signalled its intention to make changes to its concession agreement with China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) for the construction of the north south link of Highway 2000 to facilitate the speed at which the Company is moving ahead with its own private development plans. He says the change has been occasioned by the fact that the contractor has advanced quicker than anticipated with specific plans for the development of the 1,200 acres of land that the Government has committed to the Company under the 50 year agreement.

Continuing the Minister said, “We were taken by surprise at the speed at which CHEC has moved. This is supposed to happen when they have completed the highway. In fact, I will be going to Cabinet to change the agreement to allow them to complete the development faster than originally planned.”

The Government has agreed to give CHEC the 1,200 acres of land adjoining the highway to undertake infrastructure development as a means of supplementing a portion of the $69B highway loan which the Government has said that CHEC would not be able to recover from toll revenues over the life of the 50 year deal.

Dr. Davies also used the opportunity to advise that Section One (Caymanas to Linstead) and Section Three (Moneague to Ocho Rios) of the North South Leg are two thirds and 70% complete respectively.