Mon | Sep 16, 2019

Road projects look set to miss month-end deadline

Published:Friday | August 16, 2019 | 12:29 AMAndre Williams/Staff Reporter
In this August 1 photo, a motorist approaches one of the covers elevated above the level of the road surface along the Constant Spring Road. The exposed covers remain a nuisance to motorists until final layer of asphalt is added to the roadway.
In this August 1 photo, a motorist approaches one of the covers elevated above the level of the road surface along the Constant Spring Road. The exposed covers remain a nuisance to motorists until final layer of asphalt is added to the roadway.

Signs are emerging that the legacy road projects in the Corporate Area, which have missed their March deadline, are also set to go beyond their month-end completion date despite officials repeatedly expressing that they would be wrapped up by the end of August.

On Tuesday, the National Water Commission advised that residents in the Corporate Area would have to wait longer for normality to return to the supply of water. The NWC had previously set a timeline for work to be completed at the end of this month.

Teisha Ann Pinnock, acting corporate public relations manager at NWC, told RJR News that the delay was due to the National Work Agency’s revised schedule, hinting that the legacy road project works would not be completed before the start of the new school year as promised.

“The NWA has reported a revised schedule for the completion of water supply and sanitation infrastructure component of the programme. The revised schedule for Hagley Park Road is the end of the month (August); for Constant Spring, it’s September; and for Mandela Highway, it’s October of this year,” Pinnock said.

Land-acquisition disputes

Our news team has gathered that setbacks in settling land-acquisition disputes, including the Constant Spring Market, are behind the delays.

The multibillion-dollar road upgrades are being carried out on Barbican, Constant Spring and Hagley Park Roads as well as the Mandela Highway.

Asked to comment on Wednesday, NWA boss E.G. Hunter told The Gleaner that the National Land Agency (NLA) would be more suitable to answer questions relating to land acquisition and subsequent compensation package offered to landowners.

Efforts to reach NLA CEO Elizabeth Stair over the last two days have been unsuccessful, with The Gleaner being told she was not available.

No response was received to questions submitted to her office up to press time last night.

Pressed further as to the new schedule for completion of the works, Hunter – who had previously told The Gleaner that the projects would be wrapped up by the end of the month – asked for the questions to be sent to him on Wednesday. He has not yet responded.

“Long before! Absolutely!” Hunter said in July, when asked if the projects would be completed ahead of the new school year, which starts in roughly two weeks.

Following a recent tour of the projects, Prime Minister Andrew Holness also stressed that the goal was to wrap up works within weeks.

“I think this is a major investment and it is worth it. The challenge now is to complete it. We have missed at least two deadlines, and I am saying that we cannot move past September the first,” Holness said in the presence of high-ranking officials from the NWA and China Habour Engineering Company.

andre.williams@gleanerjm.com