Consultations begin for a $40 billion road improvement project under SPARK – Jamaica Information Service

Consultations with community members have begun for the Government’s $40 billion road improvement project, under the Shared Prosperity through Accelerated Improvement to Our Road Network (SPARK) programme.

The first in the series of town hall meetings of the SPARK program was held on May 2 at Edith Dalton James High School in Duhaney Park, St. Andrew.

The meeting provided an opportunity for residents to engage with various government stakeholders on the road network in their community.

The SPARK program was announced by the Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, earlier this year, and aims to address and improve the island’s community road network.

The expected results include improved road safety; better local drainage; and reduced travel time, vehicle operating costs and CO2 emissions from motor vehicles.

Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Desmond McKenzie reminded them that the project aims to improve their lives.

“This project is non-partisan. It’s not a political program… no matter what color shirt you wear, your front end feels it, so you don’t have one path for green and one for orange. Everyone uses the same road and everyone is affected the same way,” he said.

Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Desmond McKenzie will address the first in a series of town hall meetings on the Shared Prosperity through Accelerated Improvement to Our Road Network (SPARK) program at Edith Dalton James High School in Duhaney Park, St. Andrew, on May 2.

Mr McKenzie argued that the success of the program depends on the participation of communities.

“We are here with you tonight, not to dictate to you, but to give you a say…. This will benefit us all…. It is a program that involves all stakeholders, and I ask you to have confidence in the program, but most importantly that you have confidence in yourselves as representatives of the community to make the right choice in determining its future of the program in western St. Andrew. ,” he said.

He pointed out that there are more than 14,000 miles of roads throughout Jamaica.

“But the majority of our road network is where the community travels and so the programme, even though it is done through the CDF (Constituency Development Fund), involves local authorities,” the minister said.

Constituency Development Fund (CDF) Director Kedesha Rochester said a collaborative approach will be taken in the implementation of the SPARK programme, noting that the consultations will help identify the roads that require repairs.

“We (CDF) are the vehicle used to conduct consultations… We do not implement this. We go to the 228 divisions and hear from you, the people and citizens of this country.

“The CDF will advise, the NWA (National Works Agency) will implement, the SDC (Social Development Commission) will mobilize, the Ministry of Local Government will map it out, and the NWC (National Water Commission) is here to support “, she says. outlined.

Ms. Rochester told residents that SPARK is not a patch program.

She noted that $20 billion of the budgeted amount will be spent on community and local roads, while the rest will be used for trunk roads.

St Andrew Western MP Anthony Hylton welcomed the initiative, which he said would improve the community’s aging infrastructure.

Other stakeholders at City Hall included Kingston Mayor Councilor Andrew Swaby, as well as representatives from the NWA and NWC.