Northern side of Carifesta Ave to be widened

- two phases to cost $180M

Carifesta Avenue will be widened on the northern side and the contractors on the project are hoping that the $180 million improvement works would be finished by the end of this month.

The supervising engineer has meanwhile refuted claims that there are insufficient safety signs on the road.

Work on the road started late last month and Stabroek News was informed by Minister of Public Infrastructure David Patterson that the improvements will see a median with lights and a widening of the road.

Two of the signs at the starting of the construction.
Two of the signs at the starting of the construction.

While a project of such magnitude would normally take about 4-6 months to complete, he had explained that they were hurrying the works in order to finish by the first week in July for Caricom Day. This period will also coincide with a meeting here of Caricom Heads of Government.

After the construction work started to occupy more space in the middle of the road, commuters began complaining about insufficient lighting and signs to clearly demarcate the works.

However, supervising engineer Sherod Parkinson and an engineer from one of the contractors, H Nauth and Sons, on Sunday refuted the claims and stated that there were enough lights and signs around the construction.

“That would not be accurate. There are signs placed with caution tapes, especially where one of the contractors is working, there they have two big illuminated signs,” Parkinson stated, explaining that during the night people would remove the caution tapes and cones and the contractors would have to constantly replace them.

“…But sometimes if we put the tape there at 4:30 and somebody moves it at 6 then it might not be there at 7 and somebody might see that and think that we don’t have any but it is not so,” Parkinson said. An engineer from H Nauth and Sons also backed up Parkinson’s statement and said that persons would remove their cones and they would have to constantly be replacing them.

Parkinson stated that the construction was following all of the safety rules and regulations and the biggest challenge being faced currently is negotiating with GTT to remove the utility poles on the northern side of the road, which is set to be expanded by 1.3 metres.

Another sign and cones in the background lining the construction in the middle of the road.
Another sign and cones in the background lining the construction in the middle of the road.

As it stands, the construction on the road is being done by two contractors. H Nauth and Sons is tasked with the widening of the road, erecting the median and recapping of the road while Dynamic Engineering is entrusted with the installation of the lighting systems. The cost for these two phases is $180 million. This excludes the cost to remove the utility poles and underground cables.

Parkinson stated that they have a vision of completing the project by the 30th of this month. He added that they check the site at nights to ensure that visibility is good and there is a safe driving width from the debris. He also works with the contractors daily to ensure that adequate safety measures are in place.  “I want to caution the public to be careful with the speed they are travelling through the road and bear with the ministry as the construction is ongoing,” he added.

The engineer from H Nauth and Sons said that they were the only ones with adequate signs and lightning. “We are the only company that have the arrow lights in the country and we have them on both ends of the construction indicating where to drive and there isn’t anything else we can do. We can only secure our area and where we are working,” the engineer said.

While a few more signs have been added to the road, some drivers spoken to by Stabroek News are still dissatisfied.

One driver asserted that the entire stretch of construction should be “bright, bright like an airport.”

Stabroek News was unable to contact Dynamic Engineering for a comment.

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