Gov’t announces $40-billion road programme
The Government is moving to implement a $40-billion road improvement project to modernise more than 2,000 roads islandwide, under an initiative dubbed the Shared Prosperity through Accelerated Improvement to our Road Network (SPARK) Programme.
Everald Warmington, minister with responsibility for works in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, made the announcement during his Sectoral debate presentation in Parliament yesterday. He described SPARK as a "major game changer" in the push to improve the condition of roads across the country.
"This administration considers the intervention as an emergency, within the context of road-related injuries and fatalities, as well as the deteriorating state of the public thoroughfare, resulting from decades of underinvestment. The vision is to create a transport network that is safe, efficient, and reliable to meet Jamaica's economic and social needs," Warmington said.
The key objectives of the programme include improving the targeted road surfaces; improving intersections along targeted urban corridors; installing localised drainage; improving road safety through the construction of retaining walls and installation of guard rails and installing pedestrian facilities at selected locations.
Warmington said six criteria would determine roads selected for attention under the programme. They include "traffic volume; the condition of the road; safety factors such as reducing accidents or increasing emergency response times; cost; ease of implementation and social impacts such as increased access to services or decreased social cohesion".