The expansion works along the East Coast public road remain indefinitely stalled as the Ministry of Public Works (MPI) is waiting on the Ministry of Finance (MoF) to finalise the funding.
Speaking to Stabroek News on Wednesday, Chief Works Officer Geoffrey Vaughn said that everything is set and ready on the part of the MPI but it has been waiting on the MoF to release the funds. He explained that since the money for the project would be coming from a Chinese loan, the ministry has to deal with all the necessary procedures.
“The design is ready, the workers are ready, the ministry is ready and is waiting on the finalisation of the loan from the Ministry of Finance. Once everything is financed and the loan is ready, then we will deal with it,” he pointed out.
In May, 2014, Chinese firms were vying for the new phase of the East Coast expansion project, which was supposed to be completed through a US$57M loan from China.
The four-lane expansion was slated for the road from Better Hope to Belfield and was divided into six lots.
However, when Stabroek News visited the various lots recently, the works were at a standstill, with just sand covering the areas where the road was supposed to be expanded. The construction has been left off for so long that small shrubs and grass have already started to grow in the area.
Lot One now includes the stretch of road from Better Hope to Triumph, after the Montrose to Triumph section of the work (once referred to as Lot One) was joined to the Better Hope to Triumph section (once referred to Lot Two).
Lot One was initially contracted to Falcon Engineering Services for $468 million, but the entire stretch (both Lot One and Two) is now being referred to as Lot One, and is being done by Dipcon.
Falcon’s contract was taken away after the former government found that the contracting firm was behind schedule and was allegedly carrying out inferior work. An additional $463 million had to be doled out by government for Dipcon to repair the reportedly substandard work done by Falcon, and complete its Lot.
Falcon has since taken the Works Ministry to court for money which it claims it is owed. The matter is still before the court.
Dipcon also has the $328 million contract for Lot Five, which stretches from Triumph to Mon Repos. Work on this Lot is said to be 80% complete.
Lot Three, which stretches from La Bonne Intention (LBI) to Beterverwagting (BV), was contracted to Courtney Benn Contracting Services and is valued $349 million. This section of work is said to be 20% complete. Lot Four, which stretches from BV to Triumph, was awarded to Compustruct Contracting Services and is valued at $322 million. Work to this section of the road is also about 20% complete.
Meanwhile, Lot Six has been completed. The $345 million contract for the Lot, which stretches from Mon Repos to De Endragt, was entrusted to Colin Talbott Contracting Services.