Varden Downer, Senior Director for Project Implementation at the NWA
An estimated $1 trillion is how much the National Works Agency (NWA) believes it will cost to upgrade Jamaica's deteriorating road network.
The figure was presented during Thursday's meeting of the Public Administration and Appropriations Committee (PAAC), which looked at the damage to roads following the recent heavy rains.
Varden Downer, Senior Director for Project Implementation at the NWA, said an assessment was conducted to determine the annual cost of maintaining the island's roads and rehabilitating them.
Some 55 per cent of the roads were classified in bad condition, 30 per cent in fair condition and 15 per cent in a good state.
Mr. Downer gave a breakdown of the cost to routinely maintain the roads, noting that just to "make it safe for use without upgrading those roads, the average annual cost we’ll be looking at is some $200 billion."
"To upgrade our roads to good condition, as per asphaltic concrete we mentioned earlier, and to give us the required design life, we're talking about $1 trillion. So, we're talking serious money," he added.
The NWA said if the country's roads are upgraded, the maintenance cost would also be hefty.
"If we should get our roads in good condition, then the average annual maintenance costs would be some $80 billion to maintain them, and this is both periodic and routine maintenance....After five or seven years, you would need to go in and take off the asphalt surface and to replace with the new surface, improve the drainage etc. as you go along," Mr. Downer explained.