Sat | Dec 3, 2016

Don't blame us for steep highway - Chinese

Published:Wednesday | September 3, 2014 | 12:00 AM

The China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) is distancing itself from any responsibility for the steepness of a section of the new North-South Highway.

Motorists have complained that they are facing difficulties make it over the gradient of the highway that was officially opened a month ago.

Regional Director of CHEC Zhongdong Tang stressed that while the steepness of the slope could have been avoided initially, his company could not shoulder the blame for the discomfort being felt by some motorists.

Acknowledging that five kilometres of the highway was unnecessarily steep, Tang told The Gleaner that CHEC was not in a position to change that element of the plan it inherited from French construction group Bouygues.

"When we took over, Bouygues had already fixed the gradient at eight per cent," said Tang. He explained that in engineering terms, this was considered to be somewhat steep.

Tang said he was unable to fathom why Bouygues had opted for an eight per cent gradient. Given the steepness of the gradient that could not be altered by China Harbour, Tang emphasied that motorists descending the five-kilometre strip should exercise caution as it could be tricky to traverse.

Although Tang has sounded a caution to motorists, the National Road Safety Council (NRSC) and the Jamaica Automible Association have signalled that they are satisfied that it is safe and comfortable for travelling.

NRSC Vice-Chairman Dr Lucien Jones said an assessment indicated that well-serviced vehicles should have no problems travelling along the new highway. Similarly, the general manager of the Jamaica Automobile Association, Duane Ellis, said he had found no major fault.

Tang and his team have now turned their attention to the second portion of Phase 2A, the 67.2km-long link of the North-South Highway 2000 Project.

gary.spaulding@gleanerjm.com