The 384 million US dollar southern coastal highway improvement is expected to get underway in early 2018.
The project entails rehabilitation of the 110 kilometre roadway between Harbour View in Kingston and Port Antonio in Portland.
National Works Agency (NWA) says the environmental impact assessment study, which is required for the project’s implementation, is being perused by the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA).
NWA Communications and Customer Service Manager Stephen Shaw says on completion, NEPA, the NWA and other relevant government agencies and stakeholders, will meet to determine a date for a public forum with residents of St. Thomas, where a significant percentage of the project area is located.
Mr Shaw says the meeting should happen within 60 days once the NWA has been able to complete all that is necessary.
He was addressing residents of St. Thomas during the second ‘Hope for Jamaica’ town hall meeting, organized by the ministry of economic growth and job creation, at the old Goodyear factory complex in Morant Bay on Thursday.
Mr Shaw said the project, for which the government signed the loan agreement with the China Exim Bank in February, will be executed by China Harbour Engineering Company Limited, (CHEC).
It will entail realignment and widening of the roadway to four lanes, among other features, which would require land acquisition along the designated sections.
Mr Shaw said the NWA was preparing a cabinet submission for presentation shortly, adding that the land acquisition exercise will start very soon.
He also advised that CHEC has submitted preliminary designs and is in the process of finalizing these documents.
Mr Shaw says the NWA expects China Harbour to present its final design by December, so that means the agency is looking at early next year, insofar as equipment being on the ground is concerned.