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Preventative Maintenance will be Cornerstone of SPARK Programme

Preventative Maintenance will be Cornerstone of SPARK Programme

“Jamaica will get to the point where we will be able to properly maintain our road infrastructure instead of doing maintenance after the fact when a pot-hole occurs or the road surface fails or there is a break away.”

– Prime Minister Holness

Prime Minister Andrew Holness says the new road infrastructure improvement programme, the Shared Prosperity Through Accelerated Improvement to our Road Network (SPARK) is set to significantly enhance the country’s road infrastructure, driving growth, development, and prosperity in communities across Jamaica.

With an allocation of $40 billion over a two-year period, the SPARK Programme aims to establish a comprehensive and real-time database of Jamaica’s roads using advanced Geographic Information Systems (GIS).

Speaking in Parliament on May 21, 2024 the Prime Minister stated that preventive maintenance is a cornerstone of SPARK: “What we are doing now with the SPARK Programme is truly creating a data base with all the geographic environmental and usage information, is that we will have all of this data to us the engineering perspective of the road. Meaning we will know when the road is likely to fail and therefore, we are able to budget for this in advance and in fact budget to prevent the failure of the road, so we will now truly have the basis of a preventative maintenance programme for our road.”

In this regard, the Prime Minister also noted: “For the first time in decades, Jamaica will have an up-to-date, real-time comprehensive database of our roads. This will help us develop the registry into a powerful planning tool to determine the estimated useful life remaining on a road, the repairs required, and any potential threats to its viability.”

The SPARK Programme will employ a long-term strategy to manage road maintenance, ensuring roads remain in a good state with a robust engineering lifespan depending on location, environmental conditions, and usage of seven to fifteen years.

A competitive bidding process for SPARK has been advertised internationally, with pre-qualification documents available since April 22. The tender period closes on May 24, 2024. The evaluation of pre-qualified bidders will be completed by May 31, 2024, and bid proposals are due by August 15, 2024. Contracts are then expected to be awarded by September 30, 2024.

Each constituency will receive an initial allocation of approximately $150 million, with further allocations based on verified roadway lengths, to ensure equitable distribution.

The SPARK programme will cater to various improvements such as pavement resurfacing, sidewalk rehabilitation, drainage improvements, waterline enhancements, retaining wall construction, and intersection upgrades. For main roads under the National Works Agency (NWA), additional improvements will include the installation of fibre optic ducts and bus stop enhancements.

Community consultations have already commenced to ensure citizen participation in determining the roads to be targeted. Consultations have so far taken place in 11 constituencies, with more scheduled over the next month. Seventy roads identified during these consultations have been referred to the NWA for scoping and costing.

In the meantime, Prime Minister Holness underscored that the SPARK Programme will be a driver of growth and development in many communities and will bring prosperity in a tangible way. Prime Minister Holness noted, “This is just the beginning as we continue to grow our economy and transform that growth into meaningful benefits for the people.”