I understand the complaints and the dislocation, but we have to start thinking long-term and appreciate that now is a different time. So, we have to build our infrastructure for it to be resilient against the impacts of climate change.
With intense work underway to ensure the parish of St. Thomas has quality road infrastructure that will last, Prime Minister Andrew Holness is empathising with residents who have been inconvenienced or otherwise impacted and is urging patience throughout the remainder of the project as the government works to bring this leg of the Southern Coastal Highway Improvement Project (SCHIP) to completion.
The Prime Minister says delivering the best roads for residents will take just a little more time.
He said, “I understand the complaints and the dislocation, but we have to start thinking long-term and appreciate that now is a different time. So, we have to build our infrastructure for it to be resilient against the impact of climate change.”
Construction on the SCHIP began in January 2017 and is being executed in three parts, with the St. Thomas leg forming two of the three parts. Recent updates from the National Works Agency (NWA) indicate that the first tranche, which includes Morant Bay, Long Road and two roads from Cedar Valley to Portland, will be completed by summer of this year (2023). The Harbour View to Yallahs road, which falls under the second part of the project, is also projected to be completed this summer.
Concerning this, Prime Minister Holness underlined resilience as a leading factor behind the extension of the roadworks.
The Prime Minister is therefore urging patience by residents and affected commuters as the Government makes the extra investments needed to ensure critical nation-building infrastructure like the SCHIP can withstand disasters and last for generations to come.
In this regard, the Prime Minister said, “It has to take a little bit longer so that the next shower of rain doesn’t wash away those roads. We have to put in larger drains, more retaining walls, and a thicker layer of asphalt.”
The SCHIP is being carried out by the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job creation and is now slated to end in March 2025, with funding from the Government of Jamaica and the China Exim Bank.