Improved Conditions for St. Thomas Residents As SCHIP Progresses – PM

Improved Conditions for St. Thomas Residents As SCHIP Progresses – PM

Residents of St. Thomas are to see an improvement in conditions associated with the construction of the Southern Coastal Highway Improvement Project (SCHIP) as the pace of the work increases, says Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness.

He gave the commitment during a tour of sections of the parish on Thursday (April 13), where he observed the progress of the project.

Pointing out that “in undertaking this kind of infrastructure, the dislocation is almost unavoidable,” the Prime Minister emphasised that the conditions with which residents have to contend can still be “made better.”

He said that a meeting was held a day before the tour to discuss the areas of discomfort for the citizens, with the three main concerns identified being the dust nuisance, access to properties and the condition of the driving surface.

“For dust, we agreed that the contractor and the National Works Agency (NWA) will increase both the wetting and the supervision of wetting to ensure that the dust nuisance is controlled,” the Prime Minister informed.

Additionally, he said that instructions have been given that residents should be able to access their properties with “relative comfort”.

As it relates to the driving surface, Mr. Holness explained that “what I have said to the NWA, and I am sure they have given directions to the contractor, is that there should be at least one lane that is drivable and that means that the surface should be relatively smooth, and they are now going to be working on that.”

“Work is progressing; I am seeing the foundational infrastructure being put in…the culverts, the drains are being done and I am also seeing the impact on the traffic and the drivers,” he noted.

The Prime Minister said that the tour was to “give assurance to the residents that the pace of the work will step up and that we will be moving towards completion very quickly”.

Mr. Holness expressed that the sacrifice that the residents have made and the discomfort that they have had to experience, “is a sacrifice that is going to bear fruit for generations.”

Chief Executive Officer of the NWA, Everton Hunter, informed that to date, 8.5 kilometres of the 14-kilometre, four-lane roadway from Harbour View in St. Andrew to Albion in St. Thomas have been completed.

He said that this puts the work on track to meet the new completion timeline of August this year. This was further affirmed by Prime Minister Holness, who commented that the deadline is “well within reach.”

Mr. Hunter pointed out that the original contract for the project, which was road only works, was amended to include water supply, sewage, and in some instances, ducts for fibre optic cable, which expanded the scope and therefore added to the timeline.


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