The total cost of damage to the road network by rain associated with the passage of Tropical Storm Ian late September is $889 million, Prime Minister Andrew Holness has advised.
This follows an assessment by the National Works Agency (NWA) to ascertain the full extent of the impact of the rain from the storm, and to determine the need for additional remedial measures.
In a statement in Parliament on Tuesday, Holness said that of the total cost, $359 million is the spend for reopening of affected roads and to improve the drivability of the roads. He said it will also cost $530 million to undertake permanent works, primarily retaining walls and drainage structures.
The NWA’s preliminary assessment had revealed that several communities, especially within the parishes of St Catherine and Clarendon, were impacted by flood rains from the tropical storm,
Some 47 roads were badly affected by landslides, mud flows, downed trees or inundation, which rendered some communities inaccessible or marooned.
The prime minister further announced that all roads are fully reopened with the exception of the lower Chapelton to Rock River corridor where a breakaway occurred at Sutton in Clarendon.
He noted that the repair costs in Clarendon, which got the brunt of the damage, will amount to $649.7 million. Also of significance was St Thomas with a bill of $59.1 million; Trelawny, $29.5 million; and St Elizabeth, $26 million.
Holness argued that the country’s fiscal situation will not allow for all the required works to be implemented immediately. Accordingly, he said the Government is proposing a programme of targeted interventions with priority rankings.
“We are focusing on reopening blocked roads, which we have essentially achieved, cleaning of critical drains which are now heavily silted, patching of main thoroughfares which have been scoured, and the construction of new structures — retaining walls, river trading, etcetera, as funds become available,” he said.
Holness said he had instructed the NWA to work with all related entities, including the municipal corporations, in finalising detailed designs and final estimates for the significant repair works that will have to be undertaken.
“I know this will add further pressure to our resources but our resolve as a Government is strong. Our resolve as a Government to ensure that we maintain and improve and build resilient infrastructure is strong and unquestionable. I ask every Jamaican who now has to use our roadways, especially those roadways and are in less than favourable conditions, to bear with the Government as we work to improve our economy,” he said.