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Knowledge Center

In this section, you’ll find a wealth of information about issues relating to our work. Get facts and figures, explore environmental issues, find statistics about road use and safety, and read a brief history of our roads.

Safety Tips for Using Our Highway

In order to make travelling on Highway 2000 more pleasant for you and your fellow motorists, we encourage you to take note of these tips before your journey:

Motorists are not allowed to reverse or make U-turns, so plan your route beforehand in order to know where you will enter and exit the Highway.

Be aware of the toll you must pay for your vehicle and have your money. Or, if you are using a prepaid TAG card, ensure that there is adequate credit on the card.

Travelling on the highway allows faster speeds – up to 110 km/h – than on regular roads. The safest way for all drivers is to reserve the lane on the right for those who are travelling at the minimum speed.

In addition, if you have to stop, move your vehicle from the road immediately and park fully on the hard shoulder. Telephone kiosks marked SOS are placed along the Highway to report emergencies and alert the highway patrol.

Using the directional signs, get into the correct lane about 500 metres beforehand and prepare for the exit. If you miss the exit, then the only alternative is to continue driving and get off at the next exit.

  1. Stop To look To listen To save lives
  2. Motorists, when driving, keep in your lane. Do not occupy more than one lane. Do not change lanes suddenly. Do not keep changing from one lane to the other. Keep safe — hug your lane and remember always to watch out for pedestrians especially children and the elderly.
  3. Motorists, when approaching a bend, ask yourself — is this a sharp bend?Am I driving too fast? Am I taking the corner too wide and too far over to the right? What could I meet around the corner? Could I stop if I had to? Use your head — make road safety a way of life.
  4. Motorists, at a four-way stop you must bring your vehicle to a complete stop.Proceed cautiously through the crossing only after the other vehicles in the intersection before you, have crossed. When turning at an intersection, always give the correct signal.
  5. Motorists do not speed, always give yourself enough time and space to cope with what’s ahead.If you are speeding and an accident occurs, the impact is likely to cause great damage. Driving at a lower speed will reduce the severity of an accident.
  6. Motorists, driving at a high speed is dangerous and it limits your ability to maintain control of your car if something unexpected occurs on the road. Do not speed particularly around corners, when overtaking and when the road is wet or unfamiliar. It is also good advice to cut your speed when pedestrians are nearby.
  7. Don’t let your friend drive drunk. Arrive alive. Don’t’ drink and drive. Just one more drink may be too much.
  8. Myths about alcohol use: Myth: A couple of drinks won’t affect my driving. Fact: even a small amount of alcohol can affect our judgment, coordination, and vision and impairs the ability to perform a complex task like driving.
  9.  ‘The tasks related to driving begin to show impairment with the first drink, and the degree of impairment increases with increasing alcohol consumption’.There is no level of alcohol consumption which is ‘safe’ for the roads. If you drink don’t drive.
  10. When you drink alcohol it: Impairs your judgment Increases your reaction time i.e., there is a long response time Creates a false sense of confidence Reduces the sharpness of your vision and hearing.
  11. When driving, alcohol reduces skills such as: Keeping your position in a lane Steering Determining a safe speed at which to drive.
  12. Do not exceed the speed limit – 110 Kmp/h.
  13. Pedestrians and pedal cyclists are not allowed on the Highway!

 

Highway & The Environment

The Highway 2000 Project (H2k) is one of the Government of Jamaica’s landmark Millennium Projects. It will link Kingston to Montego Bay, through the Parishes of Kingston and St. Andrew, St Catherine, Clarendon, Manchester, St Elizabeth, Westmoreland and St James. The Highway will also connect Bushy Park and Ocho Rios, traversing the Parishes of St Catherine and St Ann. The total length of the highway is approximately 230 km, with an anticipated right-of-way of 100m.

A Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA), was requested by the Agricultural Credit Bank of Jamaica, now the Development Bank of Jamaica,  the executing agency for the project. The SEA is an assessment of policies, plans and programmes (Glasson et al, 1994) at the strategic level. It was conducted in two phases. Phase 1, comprised a Resource Assessment in which a multi-disciplinary, integrated approach was used to achieve the following:

  • Selection of appropriate approach and methodological techniques
  • Identification of relevant legislation
  • Overview of existing conditions along the proposed alignment
  • Investigation of specific issues along each segment of the alignment
  • Phase II, Impact Analysis and Mitigation Measures, incorporates the following aspects:
    • Identification of areas of high priority through a Sensitivity Analysis
    • Investigation of various options and alternatives for the alignment
    • Identification of potential positive and negative impacts of the project
    • Recommended mitigation measures to minimize negative impacts
    • Recommendations for the project, other than mitigation measures

The information gathering process was a multi-level process and was based on the following aspects:

  • Physical: Climate; geology and topography; soils and minerals; water resources and hydrology; air quality; noise; hazard vulnerability; waste management and landscape attributes.
  • Biological: Flora; natural vegetation; modified vegetation; mammals; reptiles and amphibians; birds; invertebrates; fish; endemic and endangered species; parks and protected areas.
  • Social: Population and social characteristics; age structure; education; labour force; income; quality of life; built environment; rural towns; irrigation systems; economic development by sector; and archaeological, historical and cultural resources.

Various techniques were used which included the following:

  • Review of existing publications and desktop research.
  • Analysis of maps and satellite imagery.
  • Aerial surveys
  • Field reconnaissance
  • Mapping exercises
  • Expert Interviews
  • Community meetings
  • Charette Style consultations

The traditional permitting process in Jamaica, has relied on Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) studies. However, because of the scope and nature of the Highway 2000 project, the process was  extended to include a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA), which is an environmental assessment of plans, policies and programmes and which sought to guide the design of the highway.

The SEA report represents the first step in the approval process and the Natural Resources Conservation Authority (NRCA, now National Environmental Protection Agency (NEPA)) has been consulted with respect to the approach and issues to be identified. The NEPA is the organization with the mandate for ensuring sustainable development through the protection and management of the island’s natural resources and control pollution.

The final permit will be granted following successful submission of project level EIA’s for areas identified in the SEA and agreed by the NEPA. The Highway 2000 Project Leadership has been in continuous dialogue with the NEPA, and the NEPA has given its written support for the efforts that have been made to ensure that the project satisfies all the requisite environmental requirements.

Highway 2000 will apply to the NEPA for a permit through the Environmental Permit and License System, which was introduced in 1997.

Over twenty-five different pieces of national legislation or policy, relevant to this project have been identified under the headings of permits and licensing, natural resource management, mining and industry, heritage resource, resettlement and land acquisition.   Six international treaties were also identified as relevant to the project. Gaps in the existing legislation have been identified and recommendations have been made on requirements for the effective execution of the H2k project in its entirety.

The environmental review process is conducted by the National Environmental Protection Agency which is the environmental regulatory agency of the Government of Jamaica. Established by an Act of Parliament in 1991, the primary responsibility of the agency is to ensure sustainable development in Jamaica through the protection and management of Jamaica’s natural resources and the control of pollution.

To that extent, the Agency under Section 10 Annex 2 of the Natural Resource Conservation Act (1991), can require an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for projects which fall into prescribed categories. Highway 2000 falls in such a category, specifically: “construction of new highways, arterial roads, and major road improvement”.

The permitting process involves application to the NEPA through a project information form which forms the basis for the determination and approval of the Terms of Reference for the Environmental Assessment. The assessment report is submitted for examination by the NEPA which conducts the evaluation through a Technical Committee, assessment by relevant government agencies, public consultation and ultimately the Board of Directors.

Highway 2000 has embarked upon a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) which has not been generally required to date by the NEPA. The purpose of the SEA is to guide the functional planning and optimization of the highway alignment and, in that regard, it serves to identify critical environmental issues attendant upon the positioning of the highway alignment over the 290 kilometre distance, and to influence design criteria.

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