The long-awaited Scotland District
Road Rehabilitation Project is set to begin at the end of this month, Acting Prime Minister and Minister of Transport and Works Santia Bradshaw announced on Tuesday.
She told the House of Assembly that work on Vaughns Road No. 1 in St Joseph and Shorey Village, St Andrew will begin on June 27 and 30.
However, Bradshaw assured residents of White Hill, St Andrew who have been begging authorities to fix the only road leading to their community which is in dire condition after collapsing in November 2014 following heavy rains, that they remain a priority and will get their road in the first phase of the project.
Contributing to debate on a resolution to approve the borrowing of $256.6 million from the Export-Import Bank of China to finance the project which will be executed by China National Complete Import and Export Corporation Limited (Complant), Bradshaw said preliminary designs for the two “sample roads” at Vaughns Road No. 1 and Shorey Village have been completed and the foundation materials sent to her ministry’s laboratory for testing.
She indicated that once the consultant for the ministry has reviewed the preliminary design, the construction drawings will be completed, contracts with contractors will be finalised, and road work will commence.
“Let me make it clear that this is a process. Our intention is to, obviously, start these roads at the end of June, God willing, weather permitting, and all things in place….If for any reason it doesn’t start, it means that there’s a good reason for it not starting because once this resolution is passed the next step is for us to move on to signing the loan agreement,” said Bradshaw who earlier told the House of Assembly that signing was tentatively set for July 1.
“The good news is that the Complant team, because of their familiarity with Barbados and their recognition as to the urgency of this particular project, have actually started a lot of this preliminary work even before the actual contract has been signed. And that is testimony to the fact that not only have they been working closely with us on the Sam Lord’s project, but they also appreciate that this matter has been outstanding for so long and that we are acting with a degree of urgency because we understand how important this road infrastructure and road rehabilitation is for the people of the Scotland District.”
Bradshaw said the Chinese team had up to last Monday also submitted the original topographic survey of 30 roads in phase one of the three-phase project, had done site inspections of 21 roads in phase two and the remaining roads were in the process of being inspected.
The Transport Minister said consultants on both sides have been looking at ways to limit the disruption to the lives of residents when the project is underway but warned there would be some, “whether it is in the form of dust, diversions or anything else, simply because if we are to get this work accelerated and to make the most of the funds have been allocated towards this project, we’re going to obviously have to close roads in some cases”.
“We ask for your cooperation and certainly your patience in working with us to be able to allow the teams to be able to execute these works in the timeframe that has been provided,” she said.
On the issue of road rehabilitation for White Hill residents, Bradshaw said two designs have been proposed and the Ministry of Transport and Works and its consultants must now review them.
“In addition to those sample roads that I mentioned before, this administration has given full priority to the people of White Hill because … we have made it abundantly clear that in the first phase of this project must be the rehabilitation in the White Hill area. We will get to the other roads but we wanted the design work, the costings, and an understanding of what it would entail to be able to do this for the people of the White Hill district who have suffered so long because nothing has been happening in that area,” she said.
“And I’m happy that we’re in a position that we are closer than we have ever been in terms of actually having design work done, and it is now simply a case of making final decisions to be able to start to look at bill of quantities and the execution of the actual work.”
Bradshaw said Complant was to determine whether a bridge would be used to reconstruct the area where the road had collapsed or whether an alternative road would be built.
“That really is, I think, at the crux of the matter in terms of the decision-making of which design we will go with,” she added. (DP)