Contractors are putting the finishing touches on the Mount Rosser bypass to facilitate its official opening on August 5.
“The contractors are…doing clean-up work, installing signs, and doing the final road markings,” Managing Director of the National Road Operating and Construction Company (NROCC), Ivan Anderson, told JIS News. Motorists will travel toll free for one month, from August 5 to September 5.
The roadway, which extends from Linstead in St. Catherine to Moneague in St. Ann, is the first of the three legs of the North-South link of Highway 2000 to be completed. The other legs, from Caymanas to Linstead, and Moneague to Ocho Rios, are scheduled to be completed by 2016.
The NROCC head told JIS News that the process of land acquisition for the project has been “smooth”. Approximately 360 parcels of land were purchased, with 99 per cent of the sales already finalised, which includes about 139 houses or structures along the alignment.
“In almost every instance, we have come to an agreement with the owners of the structures, and have compensated for the buildings for which they occupy, or own,” he informed.
The opening of the Mount Rosser bypass is expected to reduce travel time from Linstead to Moneague by 40 per cent. Completion of the highway segment, from Caymanas to Ocho Rios, will cut the current hour and a half travel time to about 15 minutes.
In addition to reducing travel time, Mr. Anderson said there are economic benefits to be derived from the development of the North-South highway.
“It is opening up new lands for development of residential, commercial and resort development. It is opening up a lot of attractions on the South Coast of Jamaica, which would not have been opened before,” he stated, noting that tourists from Portland, and as far as Negril, will also have better access to attractions in that part of the island.
Execution of the US$600 million project is being done through a public-private partnership (PPP) agreement between the Jamaican Government and China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC).
By Garfield L. Angus