BK International has said that the current traffic congestion on the East Bank Demerara road is not in any way related to or affected by the construction works currently being carried out by the company for the expansion of the road but is a result of the failure of the client [the government] to make provisions for relocation of the utilities along the roadway.
The company made the statement in a release on Friday responding to two Kaieteur News articles entitled, “Contractor, Engineer cause mile long traffic delay – govt official” on June 30 and “APNU calls on contractor, govt to hasten project” on July 1.
According to the release, the project which started in January 2012 had suffered continuous delays caused by the failure of the client to make adequate and timely provisions for the removal and relocation of the public utilities in the area. It also said that this major hindrance to the project’s progress was “completely out of the control of the contractor”.
As such, the company stated that the assertions made by APNU parliamentarian, Joe Harmon with regard to the delays experienced by the contractor on the expansion project were “grossly ill-informed and irresponsible”, and went on to characterise Harmon’s criticism about the number of contracts BK had undertaken as “totally uncalled for, wholly irresponsible and completely unfounded facts”.
The release went on to say that “had Mr Harmon taken the time to consult with BK and with the Ministry of Public Works and Transportation, the company would have readily placed the facts causing the delay at his disposal.”
The company said numerous letters of complaints were written to the resident engineer and the team leader of the consulting group responsible for the project on the issue regarding the delays.
BK also said that it has pointed out to the consultant that the area between DSL and the Diamond Housing Scheme intersection has concentrations of utilities, installed by Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI), Guyana Power and Light (GPL) and Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company (GT&T), servicing commercial banks, a petrol station and a beverage company. The non-relocation of these utilities is causing the major delays.
BK also said it cannot proceed with the project if utilities such as utility poles and power, gas and telephone lines are not removed and relocated by the contractors engaged to do so.
Last year June the company “was forced to notify the consultant and client that it will suspend all works on the project with immediate effect until the matter of relocation of utilities has been addressed,” but did not do so in the interest of the project, the release stated.
As recent as March this year, BK stated, it wrote to the consultant giving notice of being ready to begin work at the Diamond high bridge but no decision was made on the relocation of gas lines servicing Demerara Distillers Limited and water mains under the bridge.
The company also said that it has placed on record that “the failure to relocate utilities prevented the contractor from proceeding as scheduled would result in the company claiming for costs and extension of time.”
According to the release, “the company has been required to maintain a full complement of personnel and equipment on site while being unable to proceed with planned construction activities at considerable loss and expense to the company.”