Tue | Sep 25, 2018

Obama repairs? -Gov't announces major road repair programme two weeks ahead of US president's visit

Published:Sunday | March 29, 2015 | 12:00 AMLivern Barrett
Road work along Tom Redcam Drive in Kingston.
Road work along Marescaux Road in Kingston.
Road work along Marescaux Road in Kingston.
Road work along Tom Redcam Drive in Kingston.
Road work along Marescaux Road in Kingston.

Almost two weeks before United States President Barack Obama is scheduled to visit the island, the Government has rolled out a major road repaving programme across sections of the Corporate Area.

The project covers much of the route Obama is expected to travel during his short visit, but the National Works Agency (NWA) insisted yesterday that the timing of the 'special works programme' could just be "a coincidence".

"I don't know anything about Mr Obama's schedule ... . It could just be a coincidence," said NWA Communications Manager Stephen Shaw.


No word on funding


In addition, Shaw could not say how much money had been provided to repave the selected roadways or which government agency would provide financing.

"I can't say what the funding arrangement is. Usually these projects are funded through the Road Maintenance Fund or through a special allocation from GOJ [Government of Jamaica]," he sought to explain.

The NWA communications manager revealed that he was informed about the project last Tuesday, but cautioned that "it might have been in the works for weeks".

"We had concerns about the bumpy surfaces in many of those areas that we are targeting. So we had them on our things-to-do list," Shaw insisted.

Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller announced in Parliament earlier this month that Obama is scheduled to arrive in Kingston on April 9 for an official state visit, during which he will hold bilateral discussions on a range of issues of mutual interest. The US president is also expected to address a group of students at the University of the West Indies (UWI).

Yesterday, the NWA announced that under the special works programme its contractors will be repaving several roadways. Among them is the corridor between the Harbour View roundabout and Sir Florizel Glasspole Highway in east Kingston.

In a statement yesterday, the NWA said other roadways to be repaved include Marescaux Road, Heroes Circle, Caledonia Avenue and Mona Road, between the post office and the main gate to the UWI, as well as the intersection of Oxford Road and Old Hope Road. The Oxford Road/Knutsford Boulevard intersection will also be done, as well as the section of Mona Road, between the post office and main gate to the UWI.