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PM not satisfied with pace of roads project

If the construction company currently carrying out the New Providence Road Improvement Project does not pick up the pace of road works throughout New Providence, it will likely face hefty penalties, Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham has warned.

The prime minister said the work has fallen behind schedule.

When the government signed the$120 million(contract)with Jose Cartellone Construcciones Civiles(JCCC)for the project, it included terms that provide for penalties if the project does not stay on track.

Asked on Saturday if he is pleased with the pace of the project Ingraham said he would not go that far.

“Pleased is a strong word,”he said while speaking to the press on Saturday after a tour of the new U.S. departures terminal at the Lynden Pindling International Airport.

“Progress is being made. They now have employed 600 people. They just increased that. They are going to have some additional shifts and they are going to have to work on weekends.

“From our point of view they need to produce certifiable$5 million worth of work to meet the schedule that we have. They are now producing work to the order of$3.5 million. So they have to find the means in which they are going to speed the work up to meet the schedule or be faced with penalty consequences.”

Asked what explanation was given for the moderate pace in the construction, Ingraham said the constant traffic is proving to be a challenge.

“The reality is we are working in an urban area and the public is already agitated,”he said referring to the Market Street and Baillou Hill Road works.

“The speed can’t be gotten depending on when they are dealing with green areas. For instance the stretch between Soldier Road and Independence Drive round-about has gone very swiftly because there are not many businesses and homes along that stretch. The stretch that’s north of Wulff Road and Baillou Hill Road is moving faster than it did south. Market Street still remains a great challenge south of Wulff Road and so the speed is somehow conditioned on how much aggravation that you the public would tolerate at any given time.”

“But I think that efforts are being made to speed the process up,”Ingraham added.

Despite the moderate pace, the government is pleased with the quality of the work, Ingraham said.

He noted that the Water and Sewerage Corporation is monitoring the work to ensure that it would not have td dig up the roads after the work is complete.

Other utility companies including the Bahamas Electricity Corporation and the Bahamas Telecommunications Company are doing the same.

The project includes the construction of new road corridors as well as the widening of existing corridors.

The corridors include: Bamboo Boulevard, Bethel Avenue, Baillou Hill Road, Market Street, East Street, Robinson Road, Marathon Road, Wulff Road, Abundant Life Road, West Bay Street, John F. Kennedy Drive, and Carmichael Road.

Work is nearly complete on the Bethel Avenue extension; the extension from the junction of Thompson Boulevard and Farrington Road through Rock Crusher Road and on to West Bay Street, and the termination point from West Bay Street to Saunders Beach.

Through that and other works, Ingraham said previously that it would provide a transit route that is expected to significantly reduce congestion now experienced along the Baillou Hill Road, East Street and Market Street corridors at peak traffic periods.

The project, which is the first phase of a seven to 10-year road improvement program for New Providence, is expected to bring the island’s roads up to acceptable modern standards. The project began in earnest in 2009.

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