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DNA demands answers on road project

Democratic National Alliance (DNA) leader Branville McCartney yesterday called on the government to give Bahamians an update on public expenditure for the multimillion-dollar road improvement project after it was revealed that the government would contract outside help.

On Friday, Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham confirmed that several engineers who worked on the new West Bay Street near the Baha Mar project will be hired to help with the remainder of the New Providence Road Improvement Project (NPRIP).

McCartney wants the government to explain to Bahamian taxpayers how much of the initial NPRIP budget has been exhausted; whether any additional funds are needed to complete this project; how additional funding will be sourced, if needed, and when the project will be complete.

“Additionally, the party demands that the names and qualifications of these new consultants for the NPRIP also be made public, particularly if they are of foreign nationality,” McCartney said in a statement yesterday.

“They should consider Bahamian road builders, thereby keeping the money within this economy to feed Bahamian families.”

Since the beginning of the project, it has been riddled with problems.  And over the past several months, some members of the public have become increasingly frustrated over the controversial road works, which have led to lengthy road closures, detours, and traffic delays as several major roads have been closed simultaneously for months.

“The party shares the sentiments of most Bahamians that while the capital was in dire need of road redevelopment and it is a government’s duty to maintain the upkeep of a nation, the government has failed in doing this straightforward task,” McCartney said.

Ingraham acknowledged that the New Providence Road Improvement Project is “challenging”.

However, he said the public can look forward to a relatively hassle free Christmas season.

“Baillou Hill Road will be paved [from] Soldier Road in the south, up to Government House.  Market Street will come from Robinson Road to Ross Corner and continue along,” Ingraham said.

He said all of the 11 corridors will be open before Christmas.

“You should have no particular difficulty other than the usual traffic jams, but not because of the road works,”  said.

The government signed a $120 million contract for the work in December 2008 with Argentinian firm Jose Cartellone Construcciones Civiles (JCCC).

The government received a loan for the road work from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

The project was supposed to take just under three years to finish, which places the completion date around January next year.

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