Palisadoes roadwork vital to Jamaican economy
THE EDITOR, Sir:
The National Works Agency (NWA) notes, with concern, the editorial in The Gleaner of Thursday, January 6, titled 'A Palisadoes monument?'
The Palisadoes peninsula blocks Caribbean swells and waves from entering the harbour in full force. In addition, hurricanes most often approach Jamaica from the southeast, and this peninsula provides an invaluable line of defence for the inhabitants of the densely populated Kingston Metropolitan Area.
Consistent storm surges have led to considerable erosion of the Palisadoes natural dune.
These deteriorating conditions along the Palisadoes peninsula were made worse by the passage of Hurricane Ivan in September 2004. That hurricane had generated waves with return periods in excess of 150 years and had transported most of the sand in the dunes along the Kingston Harbour side. This left the Caribbean Sea side of the peninsula vulnerable to storms of lesser magnitude.
The main road which runs the length of the peninsula is crucial to the Jamaican economy and individuals who use it daily. Apart from being the only roadway leading to Port Royal, it also provides access to the Norman Manley International Airport and locations such as the Jamaica Yacht Club and the Caribbean Maritime Institute.
Rehabilitation and protection
In February 2007, the Ministry of Land and Environment invited the Cuban Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment, in collaboration with the United Nations Environment Programme, to undertake a study of the Palisadoes peninsula. Based on the results of this study, the Ministry of Housing, Water, Transport and Works, through the National Works Agency, identified 5.5 kilometres of the Palisadoes peninsula that was in need of immediate rehabilitation and protection. Of this 5.5 kilometres, 1.5 kilometres was considered to be critical and 300 metres of this critical span regarded as being the most vulnerable.
In June 2007, the NWA carried out remedial works to protect the 300 metres along the shoreline, which was considered the most vulnerable at the time, while awaiting funding for the protection and rehabilitation of the entire 5.5 kilometres of the Palisadoes peninsula that had been undermined.
The NWA had completed approximately 109 of the 300 metres of the coastline considered to be the most vulnerable, when Hurricane Dean struck Jamaica on August 19, 2007, considerably worsening the condition of the entire 5.5-kilometre stretch along the peninsula. This entire area is now seen as critical, as there is no protection existing except for the 109 metres that was protected prior to the passage of the Dean. The objective of the NWA and Ministry of Transport and Works is to proceed with works along the 5.5 kilometres.
The scope of the project includes:
Rehabilitative and protective works for a return-period rainfall of up to 100 years.
Rock revetment works along 2,647 metres of the shoreline along the Caribbean Sea side, which has been critically damaged.
Additional rock revetment works along approximately 3.6 kilometres of the harbour side, from the vicinity of Harbour View to Gunboat Beach, in order to protect the shoreline against waves occurring within the harbour.
Rehabilitative work to approximately 4.38 kilometres of the roadway.
Raising of the roadway from its existing levels of 0.6-1.0 metre to 2.4-3.2 metres above sea level.
Drainage facilities along the roadway on the Caribbean Sea side. This includes 14 drop inlets and culverts as well as 4,700 metres of swales.
A three-metre-wide boardwalk on the harbour side. The width of this boardwalk is intended to facilitate walking and jogging on either side of the roadway and cycling on one side.
Lay-bys with benches will also be installed along the roadway, as well as 18 lamps placed 200 metres apart along the harbour side.
It is anticipated that the proposed rehabilitative and protective works will better protect assets in that section of the island, as well as enhance the Government's planned development of Port Royal as a cruise-ship destination.
I am, etc.,
Manager, Communication and Customer
National Works Agency