Eight days to go...

Eight days to go...

NWA working to meet roadwork deadline

Associate editor — features

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

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THE Government could miss the revised end-of-October deadline to complete the road widening works across the Corporate Area.

The project, under the Major Infrastructure Development Programme (MIDP), is being monitored and managed by the National Works Agency (NWA) on behalf of the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation. The Government of Jamaica has put up 15 per cent of the cost, with China Ex-Im Bank covering the remaining 85 per cent. China Harbour Engineering Company is the contractor.

MIDP includes the US$19-million Constant Spring Road Improvement project, US$64-million Mandela Highway Realignment and Reconstruction project, the US$56-million Hagley Park Road Improvement project, and the US$4.4-million Barbican Road Upgrade Project which has been completed.

The Constant Spring Road project began on February 1, 2018 with a contract time of 540 calendar days, or 18 months. The Hagley Park Road project is listed as 450 calendar days or 15 months on the contract document. Both were originally scheduled to be completed in June.

Speaking with the Jamaica Observer yesterday, NWA Communications Manager Stephen Shaw said the parties had revised the deadline to the end of October.

“We did say we wanted to complete it in a significant way by the end of October, and we are making steady progress insofar as that is concerned. We will be able to meet it in a significant way, yes,” he said.

But sections of Constant Spring Road are yet to receive the second layer of asphalt, gaping holes and trenches still define the intersections with West Kings House Road and Dunrobin Avenue, as well as other points along the road, and up to yesterday what appeared to be sewage was flowing from two manholes at different points on the corridor.

Last evening, the National Water Commission said it could not confirm the nature of the flow, but promised to do so today.

Shaw, meanwhile, said the issues at West Kings House Road and Dunrobin Avenue, as well as at the bridge in Manor Park were “precursor items”, such as water lines which need to be laid.

“That bit of work would be the outstanding elements. Outside of those extremities, we should get the second life of asphalt and meet the deadline,” he said.

By the NWA's own admission in a July letter to the editor, “the construction schedules for each project under MIDP are created discreetly based on the knowledge of the scope of works to be undertaken at the time the individual contract is negotiated”.

It means, among other things, that the contracts “did not account for ancillary works to upgrade the water supply and distribution infrastructure or sewer installation”. The ancillary works, the agency said, “could easily be treated as stand-alone projects requiring a minimum of three months to be completed, preceding roadworks in all instances”.

MIDP also includes a project in Westmoreland.

Altogether, the works are touted as legacy projects of the Andrew Holness-led Administration, intended to reduce traffic congestion and travel time, and minimise the usage of community roads as alternatives.

In Shaw's July letter, he said they were 80 per cent completed overall, including both physical and ancillary works.

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