March 13, 2009
Longer hours, more equipment at Argyle

Persons employed at the site of the Argyle International Airport will soon be working longer shifts, in an effort to make up for lost time.{{more}}

Inclement weather and the absence of much needed equipment were two of the reasons given by Chief Executive Officer of the International Airport Development Company Dr. Rudy Matthias why the project had fallen behind schedule.

Matthias, speaking at a press briefing on Monday at the IADC office at Argyle, said that the new 12-hour-a-day, seven-day- a-week (except one Sunday per month) shift, although strenuous, was a commitment to meet the 2011 deadline.

“We have taken as a policy decision to extend ourselves as far as we can possibly go to make sure that we give Vincentians what they are all asking for; an airport by 2011 or there about.”

“We have a big mountain to cut and as you can see, a significant valley to fill up and we are doing that work right now.”

Matthias indicated that the work being done at the moment was on the first kilometer of the runway, which he said was 60 per cent of the earthworks.

This he said should take the remainder of the year to complete.

He also indicated that the company is in the process of sourcing more equipment, valued at close to EC$5 million, but until then, the extended hours are necessary in an effort to make full use of the equipment they have available.

“We do need more equipment. Until then, we are trying to make greater use of the pieces that we have available to us.”

“When we get those pieces, we are likely to cut back on the strenuous effort that our workers are being asked to put in.”

He indicated that the company had received funding from the government of Austria for the purchase of a compactor that is already in use at the site.

Matthias, in his address also indicated that the planned commencement of the construction of the terminal building, control tower and other land side facilities has been pushed back until next year instead of later this year, because of the need for further testing, surveys and studies in the proposed area.

“It has now turned out that the area is too small and clearly this is going to set us back a few months. I expect now that we would not be able to start that until the first quarter of 2010.”

According to Matthias, work is continuing on the airport’s ‘Master Plan’ which is being prepared in conjunction with Mexican Associate Professor Fredrico Dovali; a design brief of which is expected to be released later this month.(JJ)