CHEC to take over south coast highway project
The Southern Coastal Highway, which has been planned for eastern Jamaica, is to bypass the town of White Horses,
St Thomas, to the south, along the sea coast, rather than to the north.
Sandrea Falconer, de facto information minister, made the disclosure last week during a Jamaica House press briefing where it was announced that Cabinet had approved a contract for China Harbour Engineering Company Ltd (CHEC) to undertake the design, improvement and construction of sections 1A and 1B of the Southern Coastal Highway Improvement Project.
This will involve work from Harbour View, St Andrew, to Morant Bay, St Thomas, as part of the overall segment from Harbour View to Port Antonio, Portland, and modification of the Morant Bay Bypass at the western and eastern ends.
The Harbour View to Morant Bay section covers some 43km, with Morant Bay to Port Antonio approximately 65km. The work on the Harbour View to Morant Bay leg is estimated to cost approximately US$385 million.
A section of the highway will also be constructed to accommodate four lanes and major structures are to be built, including 16 bridges, one flyover, one subway, along with new pipe and box culverts.
Financing for the project is through the China Exim Bank. It is being accommodated in the five-year Public Sector Investment Programmes covering the period 2016 to 2021.
The coastal town of White Horses sits just above sea level and the new roadway could become exposed to wave action that recently eroded sections of the neighbouring Roselle main road.
The current road through White Horses is winding.
The Government had contracted American company, Stanley Consultants Inc, to conduct a feasibility study and preliminary design for the Southern Coastal Highway Improvement Project.
"The existing main road along this southern coastal section of the island has been in generally poor condition. The alignment, surface condition, and drainage are in need of major improvement," Falconer said.