Work is scheduled to begin by the end of September on the long-awaited South Coast Highway, starting with the section from Harbour View in St. Andrew to Cedar Valley in St. Thomas.
A contract was signed for phase 1 of the South Coast Highway Improvement Project (SCHIP) by the Government of Jamaica and representatives of China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) at Jamaica House Monday morning, August 26.
While providing the project outline at the contract signing ceremony, Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister Audrey Sewell mentioned that the section from Harbour View to Yallahs Bridge will be widened to four lanes to include realignment and widening of corridors, and major rehabilitation of the road from Morant Bay to Cedar Valley.
These roads will be done by local sub-contractors, Sewell added.
The work will be financed by a US$384 million loan from the China Exim Bank. Of that sum, US$195 million will be spent on this first section.
Prime Minister Andrew Holness, during his address, said the South Coast Highway Improvement Project will pave the way for opportunities to include housing on the eastern side of the island.
“Once completed, all the lands in that area becomes viable for development,” Holness affirmed. The Government will be also working in collaboration with the National Housing Trust (NHT) and the National Housing Agency to start these developments, he further added.
The remaining $189 million will be used to extend the East-West toll road from May Pen in Clarendon to Williamsfield, Manchester.