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Work In Progress On May Pen To Williamsfield Leg Of Highway 2000

Workers on the Southern Coastal Highway Improvement Project carry out preparatory work for the construction of a new four-lane bridge over the Rio Minho in Clarendon. (Rudranath Fraser Photo)

Major construction work is in progress on the third phase of the Highway 2000 programme, which is the May Pen to Williamsfield leg.

Speaking at a JIS ‘Think Tank’ on Thursday (January 11), Managing Director of the National Road Operating and Constructing Company (NROCC), Ivan Anderson, explained that this leg of the highway is a significant part of the road network.

“This will see us reducing the travel time from Kingston to Williamsfield to about 40 minutes, once completed. This is a 28-kilometre section of roadway. It starts at the Rio Minho Bridge going all the way into Williamsfield,” he noted.

The Managing Director added that at the beginning of the highway, at Rio Minho, the largest four-lane bridge in Jamaica is to be constructed.

He pointed out that major construction activities are now taking place at the site, with approximately 134 persons working and 72 pieces of equipment currently in operation.

“We expect those numbers to grow over the next few months up to about 400 people working on site, and that labour is primarily from the surrounding communities,” the Managing Director informed.

Mr. Anderson also pointed out that materials for the construction are being taken from quarries in the vicinity of the highway. He indicated that a significant amount of work has been done by the NROCC team in preparation for the contractor to begin major construction.

“There are about 183 parcels of land that we’ve already acquired for the construction of the roadway, including about 60 houses and structures. We have also relocated about 75 graves to cemeteries,” he said.

“We’ve compensated maybe 80 farmers along the route and all of that has allowed us now to hand over the roadway. As at the end of December, we handed over the entire length of roadway to the contractor for him to proceed,” Mr. Andersosn said.

The Managing Director said that the construction period is estimated to take three years (to include the design phase) from October 2019 to October 2022.

He said that the first year was primarily the design phase and that once the designs were completed late last year, the necessary work was done to facilitate the start of major construction works this year.

This, he noted, is expected to be completed in a little under two years.

The May Pen to Williamsfield leg is being carried out under the Southern Coastal Highway Improvement Project.

In the first phase of Highway 2000, approximately 50 km of highway was built along the legs from Kingston to May Pen, including the Portmore Causeway.

In phase two, the North-South Highway from Caymanas to Ocho Rios was built, comprising another 67 km of roadway.

To date, NROCC has overseen the construction of approximately 117 km of four-lane highway toll roads across Jamaica.

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