Current Affairs

Current Affairs



Old Harbour bypass opens Bypass to cut travelling time on south coast, says PM
Observer Reporter
Thursday, December 20, 2001

A section of the Old Harbour bypass, opened yesterday by Prime Minister P J Patterson
PRIME Minister, P J Patterson, yesterday opened a major new bypass around the town of Old Harbour, promising it will cut journey times across the south coast by at least an hour.

"There's a major choke point in Old Harbour," he said, "which can add anything like an hour to 90 minutes to a journey. This will ensure that vehicles can go south from Bushy Park to Sandy Bay in not more than 12-15 minutes."

The prime minister and his police escorts were the first vehicles to officially use the bypass, which starts at Bushy Park in St Catherine and ends at Sandy Bay in Clarendon, where it connects with the Bustamante Highway. The bypass, is 14.5 kilometres long and has two lanes.

Patterson said yesterday that the government had opened the road ahead of the official opening ceremony in January to help the travelling public during the Christmas season because of the volume of traffic on the roads. He added: "The bypass will ease traffic for those who live in Old Harbour and the Old Harbour Bay area as well because it will take traffic away from the Old Harbour main road."

The transport minister, Robert Pickersgill, explained that the official opening of the bypass had been delayed to allow the Kuwaitis to attend. Pickersgill said that Kuwait's contribution to the road programme reflected Jamaica's high status in the international community, adding that the prime minister, as a former foreign minister, "enjoys a respect abroad that is not equalled here".

Meanwhile, Patterson said that the Old Harbour bypass was one of a number of major improvements in the island's road network that had been undertaken by the government, adding that "I think we have a record of which we can be proud."

He said that this project had been crucial to the government's strategic plan to develop the south coast and would undoubtedly bring more tourism and industrial development to the area.

The bypass, which was built by a Kuwaiti firm, Consolidated Contractors Company, costs $1.3 billion and took just over two years to complete. The majority of the funding was provided by the Kuwaiti government, the rest being supplied by Jamaica and OPEC.

Kuwait has also contributed US$13 million towards the government's programme to rehabilitate and repair the island's roads.