The Government is preparing to implement a $40-billion road-improvement project to modernise more than 2,000 roads islandwide under the ‘Shared Prosperity through Accelerated Improvement to our Road Network’ (SPARK) Programme.
The budgeted sum includes fees that will be paid for services outside of the cost for construction.
Minister Without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Everald Warmington, said the Government is moving to ensure that the engine of growth is improved, modernised, and positioned to perform at its optimum.
“The road network is the backbone of our economy, connecting businesses, industries and individuals across the length and breadth of the country. This Administration considers the intervention as an emergency, within the context of road-related injuries and fatalities, as well as the deteriorating state of the public thoroughfare resulting from decades of underinvestment,” Warmington said.
He was making his contribution to the 2023/24 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on Wednesday (May 31).
Warmington noted that the vision is to create a transport network that is safe, efficient, and reliable to meet Jamaica’s economic and social needs.
He said the goal is to improve mobility, safety, and accessibility, promote economic development and enhance the well-being and road experience quality for local communities and businesses.
Key objectives of the programme include improving the targeted road surfaces and intersections along targeted urban corridors; installing localised drainage (culverts, etc.); improving road safety through the construction of retaining walls and installation of guardrails; and installing pedestrian facilities at selected locations.
The expected outcomes include improved road safety; better localised drainage; and reduced travel time, vehicle operating costs, and motor-vehicle carbon emissions.
Warmington explained that six criteria would determine the roads which receive attention under the programme.
They include traffic volume, the condition of the road, safety factors such as reducing accidents or increasing emergency response times, cost, ease of implementation, and social impacts such as increased access to services or decreased social cohesion.