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Deadline for Three Miles bypass pushed back

BY ALPHEA SAUNDERS
Senior staff reporter
saundersa@jamaicaobserver.com

Tuesday, November 06, 2018

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THE timeline for the completion of the US$1-million road to bypass Portia Simpson Miller Square, more popularly known as Three Miles, has been delayed.

Three Miles has been closed to vehicular traffic since the end of summer due to major road construction in the area, and the Government, at the contract signing for the bypass, originally gave five weeks for completion of construction, which would be by the end of October.

The heavy rains since September would, however, have contributed to the slow-down of the roadwork.

Yesterday, Communication Manager at the National Works Agency Stephen Shaw did not give a specific new timeline for the bypass to be completed, but told the Jamaica Observer that the contractors were “trying to finish it as early as possible”. The contractor is China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC).

Noting that the budget remains the same, despite the missed completion timeline, Shaw explained that the contractor was trying to complete the final grading of the base for the roadway, which will make way for the paving works to be carried out.

He said it is hoped that the base grading can be finalised during this week so that the contractor can move quickly to start laying the asphaltic concrete surface.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness signed a contract with CHEC on September 17 to undertake the works for the bypass which will link Chesterfield Drive to Marcus Garvey Drive.

Holness explained that the road, when completed, motorists who now have to go downtown or divert through sections of West Central St Andrew, will be able to turn onto Chesterfield Drive and continue on to the new road.

The new two-lane, 1.4 km road is being built alongside the existing rail line that runs between the Caymanas area and Marcus Garvey Drive. It is intended as a dedicated access route to Marcus Garvey Drive for traffic coming from the Mandela Highway in St Catherine

For weeks, motorists have struggled with diversions and alternative routes which have resulted in hours of delays for some as the major infrastructure works continue. At the end of August, the NWA in collaboration with the police, rolled out what it said is a suite of traffic management solutions, as works at Three Miles moved to an advanced stage.

The traffic changes included the conversion of roadways to one-way lanes; the signalisation of intersection; and turning restrictions. The changes also included facilitation of major works also being carried out on Constant Spring Road. The NWA said at the time that motorists would be required to use some roads differently for the next six to eight months.

The NWA says the works being carried out at Hagley Park Road/Three Miles will remove a major bottleneck which it has identified as a major contributor to congestion on the main road network.

This upgrade, which is scheduled for completion within another year, is expected to increase the capacity of the corridor by 60 per cent, improve pedestrian safety, travel time, and reduce the use of off-roads.

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