After three years of construction, a Chinese-built toll road has opened on the island country of Jamaica. The project marks the biggest Chinese investment in the Caribbean to date, and officials said there’s more to come.
The new toll road known as the North-South Highway will directly connect the Jamaican capital Kingston, in the south, with the resort beach city of Ocho Rios, in the north, reducing a two-hour drive by less than half.
The project included $730 million from China, and more than 1,000 Chinese workers and 1,000 local Jamaicans spent three years building it.
The difficult terrain required creative engineering solutions.
The highway, it’s hoped, will play a crucial role in helping resuscitate Jamaica’s economy that has been burdened by large interest payments to international creditors that have left little room for domestic government spending.
Jamaica gave the China Harbor Engineering Company, which built the highway, a 50-year concession to recover its costs.
The company also received land alongside the highway to develop for residential and commercial use, which could mean more jobs and more growth in the near future.
And there are plans for more, including a new deep-water shipping port with an investment amount that could be double the cost of the highway.
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