The planned September timeline for the completion of the Palisadoes rehabilitation work is going to be missed, but the National Works Agency (NWA) insists this will not increase the just over US$65 million budgeted for the project.
E.G. Hunter, the recently appointed chief executive officer of the NWA, told The Sunday Gleaner that the agency is now working with a December deadline for the work to be completed by the contractors, China Harbour Engineering Company.
Hunter said the cost would be kept constant as a decision had been made to do those aspects of the project that are critical, while putting on hold the items which are required, but are not absolutely necessary.
According to Hunter, among the areas of the rehabilitation work shelved is the planned 10-metre wide boardwalk, which should have been built on the harbour side of the roadway. "We will be making provisions for the boardwalk, but that will have to be put in by a private-sector entity," Hunter explained.
The rehabilitation project was started under the Jamaica Labour Party administration after several studies over decades.
The decision to rehabilitate and increase the protection for the roadway was made in light of persistent natural hazards and disasters that have damaged the Palisadoes peninsula causing significant environmental and infrastructural challenges.
The Palisadoes shoreline protects access to the Norman Manley International Airport, Port Royal, the Kingston shoreline, Newport East, and Newport West.
When completed, the rehabilitated roadway should be able to withstand a Category 4 or 5 hurricane, according to the development plan.
Under the project, the contractors are widening the four kilometres of roadway making provisions for four lanes, although only two lanes will be operational for now. The other two will be developed if there is increased traffic flow in the future.