The Regional Five administration has denied accusations that it paid for subpar work on the Burma Road, saying that only 10% of the maintenance works has been done and the remainder has been stalled by the weather.
Due to the inclement weather, road works as a whole have been put on hold throughout the region, the administration said in press release, which was issued in response to a July 7th report carried in the Sunday Stabroek, headlined “Burma Road broken up two weeks after $7.5M rehab works.”
The report quoted residents who questioned the quality of the work on the five-mile stretch of road at Burma, West Coast Berbice, saying that millions in taxpayers’ dollars had been spent once more on a road that will only last “two mornings.” During this newspaper’s visit to the area, they also alleged that the contractor was only waiting to fix it during the rainy season when it reaches an impassable state.
In response, the region noted that “Contract # 306/13 for General Maintenance Burma Branch Road,” valued $7,495,800, was signed on May 29, 2013 between the Regional Democratic Council, Region No. 5 and Contractor Shereaz Bacchus and that the planned work was timetabled to last three weeks.
However, it noted that because of the poor weather pattern, which is unsuitable for road construction, only the mobilisation of equipment, the clearing of road shoulders and the cleaning, squaring and cutting of existing potholes have been completed on the road as per the bill of quantities.
It added that information emanating from the region’s Engineering Department revealed that so far approximately 10% of the work has been completed. “This 10% of works were done based on a request from farmers and residents to facilitate easier ingress and egress from the rice mill,” it noted. The region further said that work will resume as soon as the weather pattern changes, while noting that further delays are envisaged due to the unpredictable weather pattern.
According to the release, the contract entails placing and compacting 4” crusher run into position in isolated sections of the roadway and applying RC250 bitumen which will see the said sections of road being completed to a DBST surface.
“For all intents and purposes the Regional Administra-tion wishes to inform the general public that only 20% of mobilisation was paid to the Contractor which was supported by an advance mobilisation bond which was supplied by the Contractor to cover the said amount paid,” the region added.
Farmers of the village had staged a protest last year after which relief works were done on the road at a cost of $9M. Even after the works were 80% completed, residents had complained to this newspaper then that the road was not being done with suitable materials and as such was deteriorating rapidly. They said that the use of crusher run and loam was not suitable for a road that is being used by heavy-duty vehicles on a regular basis.