Glenroy Sinclair, Assignment Coordinator
Minister of Transport and Works, Mike Henry, has secured a US$500,000 loan (J$35 million) to effect immediate repairs to the Norman Manley Boulevard, popularly called the Palisadoes Road, which leads to the Norman Manley International Airport and which has been flooded repeatedly over the past year.
"My long-term plan is to repair it in the best way, so that it can stand up to even a Category Four hurricane," Mr. Henry told The Gleaner yesterday.
The minister, who is now in the process of reviewing the estimates and options, is also awaiting the release of the funds from the Caribbean Development Bank.
"We are looking at raising the road," the minister disclosed.
Expected to start early next year
Work is expected to begin on the major thoroughfare early next year, but in the meantime, piles of boulders are being used to pack both sides of the road, especially the areas which have eroded. Mr. Henry said he will be incorporating the study done by the Cubans, in effecting the repairs.
The highway, which has the sea on either side, leads to both the airport and the fishing village of Port Royal. In recent times, whenever it rains heavily, or even during periods of high tide, the roadway is quickly covered by the sea and the surface littered with rocks and other debris.
The most recent was last weekend when the road surface was covered by the sea, forcing vehicular traffic to proceed at snail's pace. On some occasions only large vehicles can negotiate the roadway. Last weekend's incident was caused by high tide, and not rainfall.