Jamaica: NWA initiates review of events that caused flooding of roads

The National Works Agency (NWA) has initiated an internal review into the events of October 23, 2018 and November 12, 2018, which led to the flooding of parts of Marcus Garvey Drive and Mandela Highway.

This was disclosed by Prime Minister, Andrew Holness, during the sitting of the House of Representatives on Tuesday (January 8)

The flooding left a large number of the commuting public stranded for several hours and resulted in the closure of two main arteries of commerce in the island.

“The review is examining and compiling data on the state of the drains at the time of the flooding, supported by hydrological data available from the Met Office and mapping of the watershed with the intent to arrive at a determination of the estimated peak flow for the storm event,” the Prime Minister said.

He noted that this peak flow will be assessed against the existing capacity of the drains within the areas of interest, concluding with the reasons for the flooding and strategies for mitigating same going forward.

Holness said a draft report is ready for review, and it will be sent to his office before the end of January.

The Prime Minister pointed out that preliminary findings indicate that in the case of Mandela, rainfall led to temporary blocking of a drain compounded by road works being undertaken in the vicinity, which caused localised flooding.

“Works were undertaken to clear the blocked drain and create new channels in the vicinity of the intersection to facilitate a freer flow of water from the roadway. Preliminary findings indicate that the drains in the vicinity of the Tinson Pen Aerodrome are under capacity for the 100-year and 50-year design storm run-offs and, therefore, would need to be upgraded,” he explained.

The Prime Minister said that while drain maintenance is critical, it cannot be seen as a panacea or long-term solution to these issues.

“Work will have to be undertaken under a Major Infrastructure-type Programme to effect the necessary design and construction of new, larger drains,” he stated.

He added that the report from the NWA will be tabled in the Lower House.

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