South Leeward Highway to be completed in first half of 2017
December 20, 2016
South Leeward Highway to be completed in first half of 2017

Work on the South Leeward Rehabilitation Highway Project should be completed within the first half of 2017.

So said Minster of Transport and Works Julian Francis, in response to a question by Parliamentary Representative for South Leeward Nigel Stephenson, during a sitting of the House of Assembly last Thursday.{{more}}

Stephenson asked: “The South Leeward Highway Rehabilitation is woefully behind schedule. Will the Honourable Minster of Transport and Works please give an update in the status of the project and when it is expected to finish?”

Francis, reading from a document he said was provided by his ministry said: “These works which refer largely to the original scope are expected to be completed by March of 2017; the additional works which are currently being developed in detail are expected to be completed in June 2017.”

The Minister explained that the $25 million road rehabilitation project, which began in 2014, should have been completed by May 2016.

However, a three-month extension was granted to August 2016, which has since passed.

Francis noted that this new timeline has taken into account the “very abnormal weather which was recently experienced in this country.”

The Minister explained that the project included strengthening, resurfacing and improving the road safety, along with the enhancement of the roadway to facilitate 40 foot container trucks utilizing the Campden Park container port.

“This has required an improvement of the roads’ geometrical properties, such as road width, minimum reline of curves, slopes and sight distances. To this end, a number of properties which have developments adjacent to the existing roadway and have been affected are being acquired by the state,” Francis indicated.

He noted that the construction has been “markedly slow” and in achieving objectives a large number of variations were realized.

“These variations were not always complementary to the contractors’ programme of works and in fact, did at times contribute to the delays that were realized,” the Minister said.

He also stated that by the end of 2016, some areas of the project, including the Campden Park junction, the Campden Park deep corner, Rillan Hill next to the annex, Alex Williams’ wall, the Buccament junction and Buccament two-lane road would not be surfaced.

Francis explained, however, that he will not lay all of the blame for the delay of the completion of the road at the foot of the contractor.

“All of it I will not lay at the foot of the contractor. I will lay some of the blame at the foot of the consultants. And they are the ones who the Ministry of Works and the Government are paying to manage the project,” he said.

The Minister explained that Alex Williams’ wall, which was supposed to be completed in two months has now spanned a 14-month period.

“Some defects have been observed in the Hospital to Gibson Corner area; these have been determined to have resulted from ground water in the Gibson Corner area and excessive rainfall was able find its way below the asphalt surface. The consultant has since issued instructions to the contractor for these sources of failure to be controlled.”

He further explained that all intersections from the exit at the Botanic Gardens to Gibson Corner should have been broken and improved to carry a better water flow.

“…Every single one has over-flowed over the last six to eight months. And, you have to insist that they revisit their design to get it right. So the contractor would make certain suggestions and the consultant finds …that’s not necessary to do…,” Francis explained.

He also added that it is also difficult to fix a road when persons are using it.

Francis noted that the additional work which is being developed in detail includes: raising the sidewalk from the hospital to the CWSA; replace the asphalt surface in Kingstown on Back Street from the Co-op Gas Station up to Ju-C corner; side drain covers in Layou; replace asphalt surface in Layou; NEMO junction development, Milton Cato Memorial Hospital ancillary works; the rock fall netting and bypass roads rehabilitation, which should be completed by June 2017.(CM)