Monday 21 September, 2020

Night road work being considered to speed up Three Miles project

Major bridge construction works now under way at Three Miles in St Andrew.

Major bridge construction works now under way at Three Miles in St Andrew.

Government is to explore the possibility of having construction work done at night in a bid to cut short the eight-month timeline set for the closure of the busy Three Miles intersection in St Andrew.

The project, in collaboration with contractors, is a bid to ease the chronic traffic congestion across the Coroprate area.

This was revealed by Daryl Vaz, Minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, at Wednesday’s post-Cabinet media briefing at Jamaica House.

The intersection was closed to traffic on Sunday to facilitate bridge-building works as part of ongoing road projects to widen the Hagley Park Road into a four-lane thoroughfare.

However, the closure led to gridlock across large swathes of the Corporate Area on Monday, as motorists remained stuck in traffic for hours as traffic piled up on the alternative routes that were identified by the National Works Agency.

In the end, the Jamaica Constabulary Force blamed unruly motorists and the mostly narrow alternative routes as being unable to adequately manage the 70,000 vehicles that would normally pass through the Three Miles intersection on a daily basis.

On Wednesday, Minister Vaz sought to assure that the Government was working to alleviate some of the problems being faced by the commuting public as a result of the ongoing projects.

“We understand and we are working assiduously to try and better it. It won't be perfect, and what we need to do is to see if we can shorten the time. So, we are also looking at working hours and the possibility of night working, so that we can reduce the eight months (closure of the Three Miles intersection) to a lesser time, based on what we know and, of course, with Christmas coming,” said Vaz..

He told journalists that additional measures such as the dissemination of real-time information, installation of additional signage and alternative routes will be critical in minimising the prolonged delays that are being experienced. He said this will be achieved through a multi-agency partnership. 

Government is well aware of the inconvenience being faced by the public, he confirmed.

“It is not only about the improvement of roads and, of course, transportation – and time is critical to any growing economy – but most importantly, what you will be able to get in terms of improved sewerage, improved water supplies, improved telecommunication. There is a whole raft of benefits to road infrastructure improvement, so I ask for your patience and I ask for your sensitivity,” Vaz pleaded.

Major improvement works are taking place simultaneously along some of the country’s busiest corridors. These include Mandela Highway, Constant Spring Road, Washington Boulevard, Hagley Park Road and a section of Marcus Garvey Drive in the Corporate Area.

Many Jamaicans have questioned the wisdom of doing all the work at the same time but Vaz explained that this was based on several conditions with the lending agency.

“That loan had timelines, it had performance clauses, and what we found is that a number of the projects were not as advanced as they should have been, especially the major projects that were to be carried out by China Harbour Engineering Company. I speak specifically to Mandela Highway, Constant Spring Road, Hagley Park Road and… the Three Miles bypass.

"We have a timeline in which to complete it.  If not, the loan will be withdrawn and what we will have is unfinished infrastructure which we cannot afford,” said Vaz.

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