FRENCH construction company Bouygues, developers of Highway 2000, have been awarded a US$9-million (J$642 million) contract to expand Marcus Garvey Drive, as well as sections of Spanish Town Road under what Transport and Works Minister Mike Henry said is a continuation to the highway project.
"It is a continuity of Highway 2000 which should have been done previously and which was not," said Henry, who is set to tour sections of Marcus Garvey Drive and the environs of the Port Authority today.
He said the contract was awarded to Bouygues because of the confidence the Government had that they can produce first-class road work.
"I have every faith that the work of Bouygues is work that can pass the first-class test and they were already the ones working on the toll road and it is a continuity of that," Henry told the Observer.
The requisite funding of US$9.1 million will be advanced by the National Road Operating and Constructing Company (NROCC), and shall be subsequently recovered from TransJamaican Highway.
NROCC was set up by the previous Government to delegate to the project company the obligations to design, finance, construct, maintain and operate Highway 2000. It also levies, collects and retains tolls with respect to toll road usage.
TransJamaican Highway is the local company owned by Bouygues and Autoroute du Sud de France which is contracted by NROCC to design, build, maintain and operate Highway 2000.
Henry said the road work, which will see the expansion of Marcus Garvey Drive into six lanes, should significantly ease the traffic congestion being experienced by Portmore residents travelling into and out of Kingston during peak hours. He added that it will also include the laying of drainage along that roadway to prevent water from damaging the road surface as it did in the past.
"What we have now doesn’t show the vision of what we are trying to put in place and so I am trying to do what should have been done in the original plans," he said.
Yesterday, Jean-Noel Foulard, project and branch manager of Bouygues, declined to comment on the contract.
Meanwhile, Henry said the roadwork has already begun and should intensify in January.
He said in addition to the expansion on Marcus Garvey Drive and the roads leading to the port, the contract will also include road work to be done on sections of Spanish Town Road.
Henry said the road work is part of a bigger plan to ultimately develop the area leading to the port, through the rehabilitation of several streets in that vicinity.