KINGSTOWN: Earlier this week, the government launched an EC$40 million Caribbean Development Bank-funded project that will upgrade a major span of the Leeward Highway.
The 18-month project, scheduled to begin in January, will widen theSouth Leeward Highway, which runs fromKingstownalong the west coast and inland to the Central Leeward town ofLayou.
Brent Bailey, chief engineer in the Ministry of Transport and Works, said the road carriageway will be widened and improvements will be made to drainage.
The minimum width of the road between the densely populated suburban area ofCampdenPark, where an industrial park is located, andKingstownwill be 21.8 feet.
BetweenCampdenParkandBuccamentBay, where the island’s only five-star resort is located, it will be 21 feet.
BetweenBuccamentBayand Layou, a short span of winding road where rocky cliffs line the road in some sections, the minimum width will be 19.7 feet.
“These increases in width represent a 5 per cent to 12 per cent increase in the present roadway,” said Bailey. “It may seem small but given the other challenges…as it relates to the existing structures and people’s properties and walls and land acquisitions, this was the most effective adjustment.”
Bailey said a community liaison will be appointed to ensure continued dialogue with the communities affected by the construction.
“I wish to indicate that there will be significant diversions to traffic,” he said. “Construction is expected to last for 18 months. One lane of the road is expected to remain open but there will be challenges to be faced by the public during the time of construction. So, I want to plead again with our citizens to bear with us during this operation.”
The 25.3 mile (40.7 km) Leeward Highway was initially upgraded in the 1970s.