Contract for $119M Moruca bridge awarded

The Moruca Bridge in January, 2014

Cabinet has noted the award of a $119M contract for the construction of a “proper” bridge at Moruca in Region One, Minister of State Joseph Harmon announced last week.

Speaking at a post-cabinet press briefing, Harmon informed that government is seeking to “clear up a mess” which was created when less than satisfactory rehabilitation works were done on the bridge in 2014.

This contract which was on a list of 24 that recently engaged the attention of cabinet was awarded to Ramzanalli Khan Construction. Harmon reminded that the bridge was constructed in the 1980s and at the time facilitated pedestrian traffic only. It was subsequently upgraded for vehicular movement, he said before adding that in 2014 it was rehabilitated. “Many of us are aware of the work done at that bridge which after the expenditure of large sums of money was still not possible for it to be properly used”, he said.

In March 2014, $43 million in works on the bridge were finally completed. Hardat Singh, the contractor who was awarded the contract to build the bridge in 2012, had been criticised by residents and observers for carrying out allegedly substandard work and for taking too long to complete the bridge. The contract was awarded in 2012 and was supposed to be completed in a matter of months. Singh had said in his defence  that several aspects of the structure’s designs had to be changed. That, he argued, combined with inclement weather, was to blame for the extended delay. With regard to the quality of the bridge, he had long held that he disapproved of the bridge’s design and that he pointed this out to the regional officials who contracted him to build the structure. He said, however, that his protests fell on deaf ears and that he was instructed to go ahead with the project in accordance with the exact design.

The Alliance for Change (AFC) in releasing pictures of the bridge’s submerged approach called it a disaster. A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) had visited the area and observed that the structure was shabbily built.

Singh had said that the bridge was built to contractual specifications, although at that time it was not quite complete.  He had explained that he had subcontracted a smaller firm to complete what little work remained but inclement weather was causing a delay.

Meanwhile Harmon disclosed that several multi-million dollar contracts for the construction of health centres and schools have also been awarded.

One health centre will be constructed at Supply, East Bank Demerara, (Region Four) by Navin and Sons Construction at a cost of $30,116,006 while the second one will be constructed at Phase III, Amelia’s Ward, Upper Demerara-Berbice (Region Ten) by Simcon Engineering Company at a cost of $24,575,360.

Harmon said that cabinet also noted the $28M contract awarded to Simcon Engineering Company for the construction of the Schoonord Nursery School; the $21,963,513 contract awarded to K. P. Engineering for the construction of the Vryheid’s Lust North Nursery School,; the $20,919,768 contract awarded to Mojos General Construction for the building of Strathspey Nursery School and the $28,962,040 awarded to B and S Contracting Services for the Kamarang Primary School.

The contract for the Vryheid’s Lust North Nursery School also includes the fence, gate and guard hut.

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