Nassau, Bahamas – The contract for the New Providence Road Improvement Project (NPRIP) is on schedule and work is steadily progressing on the project, project coordinator Khader Alikhan reported.
Two months ago the Government of The Bahamas signed a $120 million contract with Jose Cartellone Construction of Argentina for the International Package of the project. At that time it was announced that the official start date for the project was January 5, 2009 and the project would take 33 1/2 months to complete.
Mr. Alikhan said, “The Ministry has been receiving calls because people have not seen any work and would like to know what’s happening. The Ministry understands these concerns. Following the commencement date, the contractor had 28 days to provide a construction programme. The 28th day from January 5 is February 2. On the second we received a construction programme and it is under review.”
Mr. Alikhan said that initially, approximately 70 to 80 Bahamians will be employed on the project with work expected to commence on Corridor 5 (Bethel Avenue extension) and Corridor 18 (West Bay St. to Saunders Beach) in March/April.
“As construction progresses on Corridors 5 and 18, it is expected that more staff will be employed. In addition to 30 expatriate workers he (the contractor) is also hiring local sub-contractors, from who he is presently obtaining quotations and he hopes that more Bahamians will be employed.”
The project coordinator disclosed that among others, Mr. Cartellone’s efforts are concentrated on locating underground utilities. “He has to carefully map out all the underground utilities otherwise he is going to cut out life lines and people will not have water, electricity, etc. We have given approximately two to three months to map out these utilities in liaison with the corporations. Some may have to be relocated. He intends to continue utility work on Corridor 11 (Blue Hill Road and Market Street) and then Corridor 24 (John F Kennedy Drive/Thompson Boulevard/Farrington Road to Bethel Avenue) because it is in the same vicinity.”
Mr. Alikhan advised that the contractor is also reviewing the designs and comparing
them to underground conditions. “We have given him quite a bundle of designs and drawings. If something is not clear he will write to the engineer for clarification. If further clarifications and design improvements are required the engineers from the Ministry of Works will provide answers.”
The coordinator pointed out that before work can begin a survey of the site must be done to establish the Road Right of Way (ROW). “Initially some difficulty was encountered in finding the permanent survey markers that were established in 1999/2000 when the Government initially embarked on this ambitious transportation project. Some of them were buried or destroyed, however with the assistance of the Department of Lands and Surveys, a sufficient amount of markers have now been located,” said Mr. Alikhan.
The contractor has constructed a site office in the Oakes Field sporting complex and is proceeding to complete stores and workshop facilities.
A Traffic Management Committee (TMC) comprising the Department of Road Traffic, The Royal Bahamas Police Force, the Ministry of Works and consultant Mott McDonald has been established. Mr. Alikhan said the committee is responsible for extensively reviewing all the traffic management plans.
Mr. Alikhan explained that the contractor has to abide by the rules of the TMC and is to inform the public through announcements in the media of any road works, road closures that would affect traffic. The contractor, he said, also has to submit environmental management plans.
The Ministry of Works has employed an environmental specialist to ensure the contractor meets environmental standards required by the IDB and Bahamas Environment Science and Technology Commission (BEST), Mr. Alikhan advised.
“Based on the current progress, the contract for NPRIP is on schedule,” he said.
The Inter-American Development Bank (1DB) funded project includes approximately 15.7 miles of roads, 11 corridors and two major intersections. The improvements include: Baillou Hill Road (south), Baillou Hill Road (North) the entire length of Market Street corridor, East Street (between Robinson Road and Soldier Road), West Bay Street (Saunders Beach), Robinson Road and Prince Charles Drive, Marathon Road, Wulff Road, New Bethel Avenue (phase A) and New Bethel Avenue (phase B).
The refurbishment of old water mains is also included in this package and the Milo Butler Extension from Carmichael Road to Cowpen Road is included as provisional work in the contract.
$120 Million Contract for the International Road Project Signed