Airport gateway project over budget after revision, behind schedule
The multimillion-dollar airport gateway project will cost Bahamian taxpayers about $3 million more, The Nassau Guardian has learned.
According to Director in the Ministry of Public Works John Canton, the project is behind schedule and over budget.
“We had to revise the budget. As a result of the form of the design build contract, some items on the contract were not finalized. When the contractor came back with detailed proposals we had to review those proposals and agree to some changes, so there was a marginal increase in the evaluation of the contract, but we are now on track with that evaluation.”
Canton explained that in addition the rain over the past few months has slowed down the project, which is now behind schedule by about four to six weeks.
“But we’re optimistic that now we’re entering the winter drying season, hopefully the rainfall will fall back and the contractor will be able to recover that time,” Canton added.
The government signed a $67 million contract with China Construction America Incorporated for the construction of the project last year.
Approximately $20 million of the $67 million will be for infrastructure provided by the utility companies. Another $14 million will be spent to import construction materials.
The project will include the construction of a dual carriageway along John F. Kennedy Drive; the rehabilitation of the existing carriageway for east-bound travel; construction of nine roundabouts; the underground installation of a 24-inch water main that will take water from the west to the east of New Providence; the underground installation of all electrical services and low voltage cables; the relocation of telecommunication and cable infrastructure; dense landscaping and the completion of ancillary work including drainage, signage, street lights and accesses.
To facilitate the construction the government borrowed nearly $58 million from the Export-Import Bank of China at a low two percent interest rate.
Phase one of the project is already complete. Phase two is currently underway, Canton said.
The project will encompass approximately 6.2 miles of road running from Windsor Field Road to the new six-legged roundabout on John F. Kennedy Drive.
The government’s justification for effecting the improvements include the need to improve the capacity of the entrance road system to the airport, as there is limited traffic capacity going into the downtown area; to strengthen inter-island communication, access and improve the layout of road network design; to enhance the landscaping along the gateway of the Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA), and to provide safe driving conditions where the alignment of the existing road is irregular.