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NWA probes Garvey Drive floods

BY BALFORD HENRY
Observer senior reporter
balfordh@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, January 11, 2019

 

THE National Works Agency (NWA) is currently reviewing the conditions which led to the flooding of sections of Marcus Garvey Drive (in the vicinity of Tinson Pen Aerodrome) and Mandela Highway, October 23 and November 12, 2018.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness made the announcement in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, in response to a number of questions tabled by Opposition MP and Spokesman on Planning Anthony Hylton.

Hylton noted that the flooding left a large number of commuters stranded for several hours, and resulted in the closure of two main arteries of commerce in the island.

The prime minister said that the review is examining and compiling data on the state of the drain(s) 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.

“This peak flow will be assessed against the existing capacity of the drain(s) within the areas of interest, concluding with the reasons for the flooding and strategies for mitigating same going forward,” Holness said.

He added that it was his understanding that a draft report is ready for review and would be sent to him before the end of January.

However, he noted that the 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.

He said that 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 years, and 50 years design storm run-offs and, therefore, would need to be upgraded.

“It is to be noted 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 also assured the House that the report from the review will be tabled in the House of Representatives when it is available.