Stalled works causing massive erosion on East Coast highway
The situation on the stalled section of extension works on the East Coast Demerara Highway continues to worsen nine months after the contract was halted.
Presently, millions of dollars in preparatory steel has been left to rot and to make matters worse, massive erosion is taking place along the shoulders of the existing carriageway.
The original contract was worth in excess of $400M and given the volume of works that will be required upon resumption of the project, the cost could add up to well over a billion dollars.
For one, new preparatory steel will be required, in addition to re-preparation of the surface area.
While work is progressing slowly on other sections of the contract, the contentious section runs from Better Hope to Montrose.
In July last year, the Ministry of Public Works terminated the $468M contract of Falcon Transport and Construction Services, citing poor quality works and alleged fraudulent practices on the part of the contractor.
Transport and Hydraulics Minister, Robeson Benn, had confirmed that the Ministry was displeased with the quality of work. According to the Ministry, completed works did not satisfy its standards.
However the contractor refuted this, claiming that the abrupt termination of his contract was in retaliation to his non-compliance with the corrupt demands of senior officials from the Ministries of Finance and Public Works.
The matter had engaged the cabinet, with Attorney General Anil Nandlall examining it closely to determine whether or not there were grounds for legal action against the contractor.
The contractor himself had threatened litigation to secure the final payment that was withheld by the government.
In September last year, Minister Benn had explained that interests have been aroused among other contractors to recommence the work, but the Ministry has to assess some technical difficulties before choosing one to replace Falcon.
Whichever company is contracted to execute the project will have a large task ahead.
Dr. Luncheon had said, “We have had some difficulties with the quality of work that has been done which for all intents and purposes suggest that works have to be redone, and therefore you can understand how technical the process will be of engaging someone else… another contractor to take over.”