Ministry of Public Works signs contracts totaling $6.3 million

The Ministry of Public Works yesterday signed contracts of almost $6.3 million for consultancy services related to the construction of a new Glass Window Bridge on Eleuthera and for an upgrade to the Fire Station at Lynden Pindling International Airport.

The engineering consultancy contract for the Glass Window Bridge was awarded to Engineering Technical Services for a total of $2,040,840 including value-added tax (VAT), and a further 20 percent “contingency amount of $400,000 for any unforeseen or additional services requested”.

Under the contract, the company will “undertake a comprehensive feasibility study followed by detailed engineering design” for a new bridge, however the actual construction process as well as bidding for contractors to carry out that construction will not take place until a later time.

Calling the project long overdue during a signing ceremony at the Ministry of Works yesterday, Minister of Public Works Desmond Bannister said the consultancy will be done in four phases spanning over three years.

“The works studies are to take into account future demand; financial viability; climate impacts, including projected climate change; and other environmental and socio-economic issues relevant to the site,” Bannister said.

“The works to be undertaken by the engineering consultants are summarized as follows: phase one is a feasibility study which allows for four months; phase two is a detailed design which allows for another five months; phase three is a tender bid process, which is a further three months; and then phase four is contract administration and construction quality control, which we expect to take 24 months.”

The minister said he was unable to provide a timeframe for the Fire Station refurbishment, however.

That contract was awarded to Inline Project Co. Ltd. for $3,313,327.34 including VAT, as well as a 10 percent contingency amount of $331,332.73 and a provisional sum of $200,000 again “for any unforeseen or additional services requested”.

Bannister noted that the station remained damaged since the passing of Hurricane Matthew in 2016, and that it is “a critical factor in the rating of the Lynden Pindling International Airport maintaining its rating as an international airport servicing international air traffic”.

He said the repairs would include “the total refurbishment of a gross floor area of approximately 7,242 square feet of the existing fire station inclusive of mechanical and electrical engineering scopes and external works”, as well as other builder’s, structural, mechanical and electrical works.

Once the new building is completed, the government will purchase 11 new fire trucks “to really modernize our firefighting capabilities”, said Minister of Tourism and Aviation Dionisio D’Aguilar who was also on hand during the signing ceremony yesterday.

“So, once this fire house is completed, it will be outfitted with brand new fire trucks and the fire trucks that are at those airport will go to other airports within the archipelago,” D’Aguilar said.

“So the government of The Bahamas is investing in them and ensuring that the Lynden Pindling International Airport is kept on the cutting edge, given the increase in visitor arrivals to that airport.”

According to Bannister, funding for the contracts was already included in government’s budget and was approved by Cabinet.

Asked why government was moving ahead with these projects at this time, given the impact Hurricane Dorian had on the country and the recent revelation that the fiscal deficit for 2019/2020 reached a record $677.5 million, Bannister said both matters had been in discussion for years.

“Now remember, and this is one of the things I try to say to the media, before I even get to where we are today, we’ve spent almost two years preparing this work,” Bannister said.

“The whole preparation process, before I can get to where we were today, on each of these projects, has been at least 12 months, and that’s how projects work in the ministry.

“So when the media asks me about when this project is going to be finished or when that one is going to be finished, it’s always a challenge because it is going through any number of stages.”

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