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Ocho Rios upgrade to cost $400m - McNeill

Published:Friday | December 20, 2013 | 12:00 AM
The multimillion-dollar upgrading work in the resort town of Ocho Rios in St Ann is under way. Work has begun on Turtle River Road, the roadway leading from Main Street to the cruise ship port, and is expected to spread to include the cruise ship pier and other areas of the town in the coming weeks. The work is part of the $400-million upgrade project designated for Ocho Rios, one of the Caribbean's leading cruise ship ports. The work is to include improvements to sidewalks, landscaping, and architecture. The Tourism Enhancement Fund, Urban Development Corporation, and the Port Authority of Jamaica are funding the project. - FILE

Carl Gilchrist, Gleaner Writer

TOURISM AND Entertainment Minister Dr Wykeham McNeill has said the current J$400-million upgrading work being carried out in Ocho Rios will result in a complete transformation and a huge enhancement of the resort town.

On a day when the Norwegian Pearl and the Carnival Breeze cruise ships were in port and vehicular and pedestrian traffic was being severely hampered along the Turtle River Road, where work has started, McNeill sought to address concerns about the timing of the work, telling reporters there was 'no perfect time' to start the upgrade.

"We have a very intense cruise ship season, we expect to have a lot of cruise ship visitors here, an increase this year, so there will be no perfect time, and we need to get the work done. So we're going to do everything possible to coordinate the work so we have as little interrupting of business as possible," McNeill said.

He added: "We're confident that we're on the right track, and what we're going to finish with is something that we can all be proud of, and that it's going to be a huge enhancement for Ocho Rios."

Work currently being done on Turtle River Road, (the road leading from Main Street to the pier) is scheduled to end in February 2014 and will see the pedestrianisation and landscaping of the street.

The other phase of the work will involve upgrading sections of Main Street and the promenade leading to the pier.

The minister continued: "So it's going to be a complete transformation, passengers will be able to make an easy loop of the town on foot. It will also be good for the stop-over arrivals and bring Ocho Rios, as a resort town, back into full play."

The minister said the work being done on the promenade will be a major attraction and is being done to also accommodate Jamaicans who want to enjoy whatever the town has to offer.