Fri | Dec 1, 2023

New off-ramps coming for highway

TransJamaican linking to more communities to gin up toll revenue

Published:Sunday | June 27, 2021 | 12:06 AM

Ivan Anderson, managing director of TransJamaican Highway Limited.
Ivan Anderson, managing director of TransJamaican Highway Limited.

TransJamaican Highway Limited, TJH, will be adding new off ramps to link Highway 2000 to more communities in St Catherine as an incentive to new users of the toll road.

One ramp will be constructed at Hartlands, allowing for entry and exit in the vicinity of Innswood, and bypassing congestion points at the Spanish Town North & South Coast interchange and along the Old Harbour Road.

Another will be at Phoenix Park along the Dunbeholden Road, where Gore Developments is currently developing a residential complex comprising 5,000 housing units.

TransJamaican Highway Managing Director Ivan Anderson told the company’s shareholders that the connecting ramps should promote greater usage of the highway, given the additional plans for more housing developments in the parish and the prospect it implies for demand for an efficient means of commute.

The company is considering two other locations for ramps: further east along the Bernard Lodge main road; and near Grange Lane, which also links with the Bernard Lodge Main Road.

Speaking in an interview with the Financial Gleaner after the annual general meeting, Anderson said preliminary work on the off-ramp projects is complete, and within a year, the company should be in a position to implement the project.

“We’ve just completed the traffic studies. They’re encouraging, but we’ve not yet made a final decision,” he said. “We’re doing the costings, and once we have all of the information, then we can make a decision.”

Anderson took over as managing director of TransJamaican Highway in April. Just before demitting office, his predecessor, Thierry Parizot, told the Financial Gleaner that the company was studying the introduction of toll payment by debit or credit card, likely starting with the May Pen-Williamsfield link, which is under construction and expected to be commissioned towards the end of 2022.

Anderson affirmed to TJH shareholders that the company was working with designers to implement new payment possibilities, beyond cash and pre-paid electronic tags, and that TransJamaican expected to be included in the pilot phases of the roll-out of the Bank of Jamaica’s digital currency that is under development.

The company is otherwise looking to promote greater usage of its T-tags and intends to make toll payments for the new off-ramps cashless and T-tag only.

The May Pen-Williamsfield leg of Highway 2000 will add another 28 kilometres of toll road to the network, with initial expectations that the traffic will match the volumes that currently flow through the May Pen and the Vineyards toll plazas and deliver an additional US$7 million in revenue in the first year of operation, according to Anderson.

Around 15 per cent of TransJamaican’s traffic volumes were eroded last year under the pandemic, leading to a loss of US$1.8 million. The traffic count for 2020 was 20.6 million vehicles, down from 24.2 million in 2019.