Much of the core engineering work needed for the US$24 million project that will transform Sheriff Street/ Mandela Avenue corridor is moving apace as the Works Ministry draws closer to completing the Final Design of the project.
According to the Works Ministry’s Manager of Technical Services Rabindranauth Chandarpaul, the second and Final Draft Design, which is to be submitted in parts, will be finished soon. He said that the submission of the first aspect of this draft is expected on October 18th and it is projected that the Final Design in its entirety will be submitted by October 30th.
A preliminary design had been completed earlier this year but a series of stakeholder engagements highlighted the need for changes to be made. A social engagement expert was hired by the ministry while the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) hired an independent expert to carry out consultations. Together, these consultants facilitated a series of consultations with various stakeholders such as large and small business owners, schools, as well as individuals who reside along the corridor. In addition, the preliminary designs were presented in June at an open forum at the North Ruimveldt Multilateral School for two days.
The drawings for the designs, Chandarpaul said, were posted on the walls of the school where members of the public could look at them and give their critique. Based on the feedback recorded during these sessions, the preliminary designs were altered and the product was scrutinised by the ministry and the IDB.
The submission of the Final Draft Design, which, in part, is a product of the initial consultations, will be followed by the preparation of the Final Design, which Chandarpaul says is expected to take about eight weeks. Noting the relatively short period allotted for the preparation of the Final Design, he explained that this is possible because a lot of consultations have already been carried out.
During the eight weeks, however, another round of stakeholder’s consultations will be carried out so as to find out if there will be concerns about the most recently prepared design.
Chandarpaul told Stabroek News that persons who would have been part of prior consultations as well as persons who have not yet attended any of the many consultations would be invited to attend and will be allowed to view the Draft Designs and give their input. During the eight-week period, the ministry as well as the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) will also be reviewing the Draft Design.
The results of these consultations as well as the findings of the separate reviews to be done by the IDB and the ministry will be submitted to the project consultants, who will then make the necessary modifications. After this process is complete, the Final Draft Design will be prepared and submitted. Stabroek News understands that the bidding documents–the Bill of Quantities, the Engineering Drawings, and the Technical Specifications–will also be submitted with the Final Design.
The project consultant will also be required to price the Final Design and Chandarpaul says that it is these estimates that will be used by the ministry as its Engineer Estimate.
This, he said, will be made public when the tendering process for the project is initiated. Because the project is being financed by the IDB, any contractor in any IDB member country will be able to bid for the contract, Chandarpaul explained.
This project is aimed at creating a less congested link between the East Coast and East Bank Highways via the Sheriff Street/Mandela Avenue corridor. This initiative has been undertaken as part of the government’s Sustainable Urban Transport Plan aimed at providing a “holistic approach to improving traffic circulation within the city,” and focusing on the way public transport operators provide this service.
The initial plan was to make both Sheriff Street and Mandela Avenue four-lane corridors. But after concerns were raised by the business community along Sheriff Street, plans to add two additional lanes to this corridor were chucked. So, only Mandela Avenue will be made a four-lane corridor.
Other plans for the transformation of the corridors include the installation of sidewalks on both sides of Sheriff Streets. These are to ensure the safety of the pedestrians who traverse the business epicenter.
Where Mandela Avenue is concerned, Chandarpaul said that sidewalks will be installed on both sides of the North-South section of the corridor, but only the northern section of the East-West corridor will be fitted with a sidewalk. Since the southern section of the corridor is used for residential and other non-residential purposes, there is no need for a sidewalk.