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CHEC: Closed highway lane is access point for construction traffic

Published:Sunday | April 26, 2015 | 4:00 AMNeville Graham

The one-kilometre stretch of newly built highway that was closed on April 21 is to facilitate movement of construction vehicles for two other segments of the North South Highway, the developer has said.

China Harbour Engineering and Construc-tion (CHEC) Jamaica says the closure affecting one lane along the stretch will be the access point for the trucking of construction material to be used on the Caymanas to Bog Walk leg of the road works as well as the Moneague to Mammee Bay leg.

The lane closure is approximately two kilometres ahead of the Linstead toll booth, southbound from Moneague. Since the segment that is closed off is about a kilometre long, CHEC says the highway will revert to two lanes before reaching the toll booth.

The lane closure was authorised by the Toll Authority of Jamaica after consultation with the National Works Agency (NWA) and National Road Operating and Construction Company (NROCC), said the authority's CEO, Joan Fletcher.

"The regulations say that when an operator wants to close a road or a lane for more than 72 hours then they have to make an application to the (Toll) Authority. We then consult with the NWA along technical lines and signage, and so on; and we also talk to NROCC, and if everything is okay, we give authorisation." Fletcher said.

CHEC Americas Manager of Communications Jennifer Armond says, as required by NWA: "Ample signage will be installed ahead of the affected area on the southbound part of the highway to clearly direct the motorist on how to proceed with caution and what to do in case of an emergency."

The affected segment of the highway is preceded by a length of road that has steep inclines.

There are escape lanes along the way for the safety of motorists who may develop mechanical problems.

"The escape lane will be left open so a motorist who may need to use this escape route would be able to break through the soft, flexible 'candle stick' cones that would not damage their car. Signs will be installed along the road to direct the motorists on this emergency method," Armond said.

The Threadways to Moneague leg of the North South Highway was completed and opened ahead of schedule last August.

The other alignments are to be completed by January 2016.

neville.graham@gleanerjm.com