Combined with more than $4.5 million already spent on a palm tree maintenance programme for that stretch of the North Coast Highway, which runs from the Sangster International Airport round-about to Iberostar Hotel in Lilliput, this is the largest investment by the TEF in any single project in the Montego Bay area.
The contract for the lighting project, which has been awarded to Y.P. Seaton & Associates, was signed at the Montego Bay Convention Centre on Friday, July 18, 2014. Participants in the signing ceremony included Minister of Tourism and Entertainment, the Hon. Dr. Wykeham McNeill, and Minister of Transport, Works and Housing, Dr. the Hon. Omar Davies.
Among the signatories were Executive Director of the TEF, Clyde Harrison and Director of Y.P. Seaton, Calvert Mundle.
Minister McNeill thanked the TEF for “the tremendous job” it has been doing and the “significant expenditure that is going into the infrastructure of the city.”
Minister McNeill underscored that, “many of these projects that we’re doing here, whether it is the cultural centre or the lighting of the Elegant Corridor, we’re doing these things as projects for Jamaicans – they benefit us first – and our visitors who come will also benefit from them.” He added that “it is important that we understand that tourism generates the funds, through the TEF, to undertake these projects which benefit us as Jamaicans.”
The TEF is funded by a fee paid by visitors traveling to Jamaica via airline and cruise ship.
Minister Davies welcomed the funding support provided by the TEF for the project. He noted that “over time, this stretch of road has become a safety concern for pedestrians and motorists alike due to speeding along the corridor and the absence of street lights to improve night time visibility.”
The use of solar lights was being considered as an option but Dr. Davies disclosed that no bids were received based on the use of that energy source. LED lamps will be used instead and assurance has been given that for the eight-month duration of the contract, the flow of traffic along the 17 km (10.5 miles) corridor will not be affected and there should be minimal damage to the road surface.
The National Works Agency (NWA) will be monitoring the execution of the contract and consideration has been given to implementing it in phases so that users of the highway will not have to await its completion to start benefiting from the lights.
It was also noted that, soil tests were conducted earlier this year by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries along the entire length of the Elegant Corridor to determine the reason why palm trees in the area were dying, as well as to determine the best recommendation for the treatment of the soil where the palms are planted.
Subsequently, 60 additional palms have been replaced and are being maintained.