PRESS RELEASE – Hon. Dr. Kenny D. Anthony, Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Economic Affairs, Planning and Social Security, says that Saint Lucia’s most significant road infrastructure project will be a massive boost to citizens and the corporate sector.
Speaking at the sod turning ceremony for the $20 million Courts Mega Store in Marisule, Gros Islet, the Prime Minister pointed out that private sector interests in the northern corridor will profit from the planned expansion of the Castries-Gros Islet Highway, as part of the Choc Bay-Gros Islet Road and Secondary Roads Improvement Project.
Under that project, the Government of Saint Lucia is moving ahead with plans to expand the Castries-Gros Islet Highway by doubling its carrying capacity from Choc to Gros Islet.
A four-lane, dual carriageway will be built from Sandals Halcyon to the town of Gros Islet, with five new roundabout junctions, better pedestrian safety with sidewalks and ten footbridges and safe drop-off points for public transport.
Said Dr. Anthony, This investment is over EC$150 million and will be the largest investment in roads infrastructure to date. While there will of course be some disruption and inconvenience, there can be no doubt that this expansion will yield tremendous benefits to commuters and businesses.
The Prime Minister further posited that upgrading the road network will make it easier to do business in the northern corridor, improving the speed and efficiency of goods transfers, enabling customer access, and increasing workforce productivity.
He explained that the road network expansion will help alleviate problems that have been mounting for decades, and which have come to a head in the present day.
Said Dr. Anthony, We pay a heavy price for our lack of foresight and vision. In nearly everything we do, we engage in partial, often half-baked solutions. It gets worse, when politics intervene and cloud our judgements!
And the instance of this transport corridor is just one such example. In the first instance, when the highway was built in the 70’s, insufficient right of way width was acquired. And then, over the decades, we have witnessed development after development, narrowing and constricting the available free land available for road widening.
And so, today, we are witnessing traffic volumes in excess of 24,000 vehicles per day, which in itself suggests that even an upgrade to four lanes will not provide completely free-flowing traffic conditions.
This investment, however, will reduce the perennial crawling traffic and improve travel times considerably for commuters using this route.
Funding has been secured for the Choc Bay-Gros Islet Road and Secondary Roads Improvement Project through the OPEC Fund for International Development and the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development.
The project is expected to be completed by the end of 2018.