Saturday 26 September, 2020

Clarendon suffers bulk of road damage from flooding nationally - PM

The parish of Clarendon has suffered the brunt of an estimated $640 million in road damage across the country from recent flood rains that the Government is expected to have to find funds to repair.

With up to 42 roads reported damaged, mostly in the northern and central parts of the parish, Clarendon has an estimated repair bill of $188 million.

This was revealed by Prime Minister Andrew Holness in a statement in the House of Representatives on Tuesday. He blamed climate change which has resulted in shifting rainfall patterns, which, while much shorter than the usual 30-year model, are far more intense.

Holness, who has direct Cabinet responsibility for the works portfolio, said the country’s existing infrastructure is unable to deal with the volume of flood waters that are usually unleashed during periods of heavy rainfall.

Overall, some 215 roadways were reported blocked or badly damaged by flood events since the start of the current fiscal year in April.

The prime minister said of the estimated $640 million that will have to be found, $84.73 million represents damage that was incurred earlier in the year.

“That is before these last two significant weather events. It is important to note that that amount was voted in the 2019-2020 fiscal year for emergency repairs. We have paid out $54.75 million of that so far,” Holness said.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness (file photo).

He also indicated that “all roads have been reopened to at least single-lane, while work continues to remove blockages and silt and landslides.”

The prime minister gave a parish-by-parish breakdown of the damaged roads and the estimated costs of the repairs as provided by the National Works Agency (NWA):

Kingston – 29 roads - $13.6m

St Andrew – 18 roads - $46.4m

St Catherine – 38 roads - $56.7m

St Thomas – 16 roads - $55.2m

Portland - six roads - $7m

St Mary – five roads - $2.3m

St Ann – eight roads - $2.5m

Clarendon – 42 roads - $188 million

Manchester – 10 roads - $53m

St Elizabeth – nine roads - $39m

St James – eight roads - $15m    

Westmoreland – five roads - $25m

Hanover - 14 roads - $23m

Trelawny – seven roads - $25.5m

Meanwhile, with the ongoing rains resulting in the Mona Reservoir now at 54 per cent of capacity, and the Hermitage Dam at 72 per cent, Holness said the National Water Commission (NWC) will be relaxing its water restrictions for sections of the Corporate Area that are served by the storage facilities.

However, he said conservation is still necessary, as while the forecast is for more rainfall for October going into November, it is not projected to be at the usual levels.

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