The 68km of roadway from Caymanas in St. Catherine to Drax Hall in St. Ann which comprise the North/ South leg of Highway 2000 is expected to be opened by March, 2016.
This was announced by Transport, Works and Housing Minister, Dr. the Hon Omar Davies, following a tour of the highway on Thursday, December, 10, 2015. The Highway is comprised of three sections – section 1 from Caymanas – Linstead; section 2 from Linstead – Moneague and section 3 from Moneague to Ocho Rios. Section 2 was opened in August, 2014 while the other two sections are still under construction.
In highlighting the positives associated with the soon to be opened highway, Minister Davies pointed to the major cut in travel time it will take from Kingston when travelling to Ocho Rios. “It will cut the travel time to about 45 minutes and will open up a range of possibilities along the thoroughfare,” the Minister said.
Continuing, Dr. Davies said, “This represents an over US$600M investment by CHEC in Jamaica. Apart from the actual building of the highway, the development will include the building of hotel rooms and the growth of the service industry. I am urging the Jamaican private sector to grasp the possibilities as this will significantly open up this side of the country.”
The Minister also used the opportunity to mention that a section of the Highway – Unity Valley will be developed to house several vendors who used to be at Faith’s Pen. He said several other facilities will also be there in keeping with the template of a modern highway.
And for his part, Managing Director of NROCC, Mr. Ivan Anderson explained that the tolling system along the Highway will be different from what obtains on the East/West leg. He said that when a motorist enters the highway, he/she will get a ticket; at the end of the journey, the cost for the journey will be collected, thereby paying for the exact distance travelled. Additionally, it was highlighted that the Toll Plaza at Tredways will be removed.
Upon completion, the Highway will provide an alternative to the often problematic Mount Rosser Bypass, Flat Bridge and Fern Gully.
The tour of the highway included officials from the Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing, the National Works Agency, the Port Authority of Jamaica, the Ministry of Local Government as well as members of the media.