New Three Miles bypass to bring relief to motorists
Within a few weeks, motorists should experience an ease in the traffic congestion caused by the recent closure of the Portia Simpson Miller Square (Three Miles) in St Andrew, with the construction of a bypass road now under way.
Yesterday, the Government announced that it has signed a contract with China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) for the construction of the new road, to be built alongside the out-of-use rail track between Marcus Garvey Drive and the Caymanas area.
The US$1-million project is being funded by the Major Infrastructure Development Programme and will be completed within five weeks. It forms part of the administration's overall development plan and traffic-management strategy.
Making the announcement at Jamaica House, Prime Minister Andrew Holness told reporters that the decision was taken to bring forward the plans for the construction of the new road, as part of the Government's decision to build out Caymanas as a multi-purpose, light industrial, commercial, and residential Special Economic Zone (SEZ).
Three Miles, which was closed more than a week ago for the next eight months to facilitate construction works to upgrade road infrastructure in the Corporate Area, has resulted in traffic nightmares for motorists.
Holness said that roads which were selected as alternative routes to the ongoing construction (primarily at Three Miles) were not adequate, as they had too many diversions, "too many turns, into smaller roads", and were causing disruption to several local communities.
"There is a rail line that runs through Caymanas on the south side of the highway coming into St Andrew, running behind Seaview Gardens, going down to Marcus Garvey Drive, and running behind Tinson Pen," he said.
"It would, therefore, be a perfect corridor to put a road that would be dedicated to the movement of goods, particularly goods containerised and pulled by trailers, so it can make a direct link from the Caymanas Industrial Zone, which we plan to develop, right into the port."
CONSTRUCTION NOW UNDER WAY
Yesterday, there were signs that work on the new 1.4-kilometre route had begun, with several heavy-duty trucks and other machinery seen clearing trees and shrubs from Chesterfield Drive, off the Spanish Town Road access point in Seaview Gardens.
"It will be constituted of two lanes and will have a link from Chesterfield Drive, running alongside the existing rail track, taking commuters down to Marcus Garvey Drive, therefore, effectively bypassing the Three Miles area and creating a new dedicated route," Holness said, noting that he believes it will solve a significant amount of the traffic congestion.
According to the prime minister, upon completion, it would allow for motorists travelling into Kingston not to be diverted through some communities.
"So, as they say, you would kill two birds with one stone. Because having made that investment, then we are now also making the investment to make the Caymanas SEZ a reality because the intention is to continue that road directly to the south lands of the Caymanas proposed SEZ," stated Holness.
The roadworks will include drainage improvement, with the installation of pipes and culverts along the actual road and Chesterfield Drive, the installation of temporary traffic signals at the Marcus Garvey Drive intersection, the removal and relocation of Jamaica Public Service poles, and creating a wide-turning radius of tractor-trailers at the intersections.