Jamaica, with a population of approximately 2.7 million, is known to have one of the highest road densities in the world, having the main and parochial road network of 5,286km and 9,962km respectively - a total of 15,248 km - traversing an area of only 11,400km2. The total value of this road network is estimated at over US$70 billion.
The Jamaican economy relies heavily on road transport for passenger and freight movement. Although a large percentage of these roads have been improved over time, it is recognized that they were never originally constructed to modern engineering standards, but have evolved in many cases, from bridle tracks. The absence of proper road profiles and drainage facilities have taken their toll over the years and the resulting condition of much of the network, particularly the tertiary roads, can be regarded as ranging from poor to very poor.
This, when coupled with the high traffic volumes, leads to:
- Increase in crashes; and
- Increase in vehicle operating costs.
MIDP addresses the urgent need to increase safety on our roads by improving a number of important corridors to arterial standards via widening, rehabilitation and realignment where necessary. The programme calls for the improvement of priority road segments and bridges islandwide, commencing in financial year 2013 / 2014.
The estimated cost of the programme is US$350 million.
MIDP is a follow-up of the Jamaica Development Infrastructure Programme (JDIP), funded by China Exim bank and implemented by China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) at a cost of US$400 million, and saw to the implementation of the following projects:
- Construction of the Christiana Bypass, in Manchester.
- Construction of the Rio Grande Bridge, Portland.
- Construction of Westmoreland Bridge, St. Mary.
- Construction of Cassia Park Bridge, St. Andrew.
- Construction of Queensborough Bridge, St. Andrew.
- Construction of Dawkins Pen Bridge, St. Catherine.
- Fern Gully road and drainage improvement, St. Ann.
- Rehabilitation of housing scheme and parish council roads, across the island.
- Rehabilitation of urban, secondary and tertiary main roads, islandwide.
- Patching of main roads, islandwide.
The new infrastructure programme MIDP, will also focus on upgrading additional key arterial, secondary and tertiary roads along the network.