THE 15-KILOMETRE-LONG corridor from Alexandria to Brown's Town in St Ann has been included as a proposed project under the Major Infrastructure Development Programme (MIDP), the National Works Agency (NWA) has said.
The rehabilitation of the road is listed as one of the initial physical targets under the Road Rehabilitation Project II (Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development).
The project, which started in 2008, is aimed at contributing to the economic development of Jamaica by improving approximately 57 kilometres of road network to support agriculture, industrial and tourism activities in St Mary, St Ann, and Westmoreland.
In addition to the Alexandria to Brown's Town roadway, the project should have seen rehabilitation works being done on the Toms River to Broadgate, and Broadgate to Agualta Vale roads in St Mary.
But Stephen Shaw, manager of communication and customer service at the NWA, told The Gleaner that the funding available under the Kuwait arrangement will not be enough to execute works along the Alexandria to Brown's Town corridor.
"We have, therefore, included it as one of the proposed projects to be undertaken under the MIDP," he said.
MDIP is a US$353-million infrastructure project funded jointly by the China Ex-Im Bank and the Jamaican Government. Some $4 billion is budgeted to be spent under the programme this year.
In the meantime, Shaw said the Toms River to Agualta Vale corridor forms part of the North/South link from Kingston to Aqualta Vale.
"The Government plans to improve this road in terms of the geometric alignment and width. We have completed the designs and are close to finalising the surveys that will determine the land take. Given the budget available, the intention is to divide the corridor into two phases for the works," Shaw said.
He further added that the first five kilometres from Broadgate to Aqualta Vale is to be done under the first phase.
"The tender process for this phase is to be done during this financial year. It is hoped that the construction phase will follow soon after," he said.
The initial cost for the project was estimated at $1.2 billion, $792.4 million of which would come from the Kuwaiti Fund for Development and $415.9 million from the Government of Jamaica.
To date, however, the cumulative expenditure on the project is $19.5 million, all of which has come from the Government of Jamaica. Some $33 million is to be spent this year, the highest since 2011-2012 when $62.5 million was spent. Some $25 million was spent in 2012-2013, and only $18,000 last year, despite Parliament having approved a budget of $289.6 million.