The May Pen to Williamsfield section of the Southern Coastal Highway Improvement Project (SCHIP), Part A, is 94 per cent complete and remains on track for full completion by August of this year.
Everald Warmington, minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, provided an update after touring the highway segment on Thursday (May 11).
“The main alignment guardrails are being installed, which is a clear indication that the project is at an advanced stage… . We are on target, and I am very satisfied with the progress and quality of work that I’ve seen,” he told journalists.
Warmington indicated that the major works left to be completed are the interchanges at the start point in May Pen and Melrose Hill, as well as the installation of the tolling system and testing.
Overall, the scope of the project includes the construction of approximately 23 kilometres of four-lane rural arterial divided highway from May Pen to Melrose Hill as well as the upgrade of approximately five kilometres of the existing Melrose Hill Bypass to a four-lane rural arterial divided highway.
An interchange in the vicinity of Clarendon Park with a link road from the highway to the main road (A2) are also included.
After completion, the new alignment is expected to cut the current travelling time from May Pen to Williamsfield to approximately 15 minutes.
The National Road Operating and Constructing Company Limited (NROCC) is managing the project, with China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) as the contracting entity.
Warmington informed that repair works were carried out to fix six local roads that were damaged during construction, as stipulated in the contract with CHEC.
They are Foga, Decoy, St. Jago, Red Berry, Hampton and Trinity Roads.
Repairs will also be undertaken on Denbigh Drive, Comfort Road, Duje Street and St. Toolies Road.
Additionally, the minister noted that the new bridge over the Rio Minho River, was constructed “higher and wider” to better prevent the water level reaching the underside decking during major rain events.
Meanwhile, Warmington pointed out that this section of the project is managed in a different way when compared to the Harbour View to Port Antonio leg of the SCHIP, which is divided between CHEC and local contractors.
He noted that the National Works Agency (NWA), which is the engineer representing the Government of Jamaica, “is not involved in the actual supervision or construction of the project; the obligation is between China Harbour and the local contractors”.
He said, further, that the NWA cannot give instructions to the local contractors, which he noted, are subcontracted to China Harbour.
The Government aims to complete 10 of the 15 packages that form the local component of the SCHIP, with the remaining five packages to be awarded during this fiscal year.