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Gov’t goes full speed with toll road expansion

Published:Tuesday | April 24, 2012 | 3:39 PM

Daraine, Luton, Senior Staff Reporter

The Portia Simpson Miller-led government has decided to keep the agreement entered into by the previous administration for the continuation of the North-South link of Highway 2000.

In Parliament this afternoon, Dr Omar Davies, the minister of transport, works and housing, said the Cabinet made the decision yesterday.

"It is estimated that the total investment in the project will be in excess of US$600 million, with no financial contribution required of the Government of Jamaica," Davies said.

In 2011, the Cabinet made the decision, ratified by a Memorandum of Understanding with China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC), for the construction of the North South link of Highway 2000 inclusive of the completion of the Mount Rosser bypass.

However, geo-technical faults halted the construction of the Mount Rosser bypass.

Davies noted that the delay has undermined the value of an estimated US$125 million in investment on the project.

The agreement, which the Simpson Miller government has decided to continue, will see CHEC partnering with the National Road Operating and Constructing Company (NROCC) for the implementation of the toll road.

NROCC was forced to suspend the negotiations last year after the Office of the Contractor General raised concerns about the absence of competitive tender for the arrangement.

Karl Samuda, the Opposition Spokesman on works, welcomed the announcement but bemoaned what he said is the unnecessary bureaucracy that had stalled the project.

"We cannot be overburdened by unnecessary delay," Samuda said.