Works on the East Coast Demerara Public Road four-lane expansion between La Bonne Intention (LBI) and Triumph are slothful, much to the frustration of the Ministry of Public Works that is forced to write the contractors regularly.
According to Geoffrey Vaughn, Co-ordinator of Work Services Group, while contractors executing works in Lots One, Five and Six are likely to conclude their contracts in a timely manner, Lots Three and Four are the problematic areas.
The contractors, Courtney Benn Contracting Services Ltd (CBCSL) and Compustruct were awarded the two lots in March 2013. Lot Three, LBI to Beterverwagting, was awarded to CBCSL to the tune of $349M. And Lot Four, Betterverwagting to Triumph, was awarded to Compustruct to tune of $322.3M.
Vaughn said the contractors are not producing the amount of work required to complete their tasks within a year’s time. He noted that during site visits machinery and staffers would be present, but the percentage of work completed is unacceptable.
The Co-ordinator explained that though terminating the contracts is a possibility – as was done previously in Lot One, for poor performance – the quality of work being done by the contractors is not substandard. In addition, the contractors still have several months under their contracts to hasten the process.
He said even though the Ministry has been writing the contractors constantly and holding regular meetings, there is no progress. He believes financial limitation is blocking the work from moving ahead.
According to a source from within the Ministry, for the past month the contractors have not done any substantial construction.
“The amount of construction finished on the Lots to date is less than quarter that is required to conclude on the contract duration. The contractors’ excuse for not moving the project ahead is the shortage of concrete. But, this is simply not the case. Other contractors are executing road projects.”
The source disclosed that the contractors received more than half the mobilization advance payments for the projects. As such, it is difficult for the Ministry to pull the plug on the contractors.
“If the Ministry terminates the contracts based on the percentage of the mobilization advance payments to the contractors, there is no guarantee it could get back the money paid.”
Meanwhile, Lot One, Better Hope to Montrose, has restarted and is expected to conclude next year. This project is being undertaken by Dipcon Engineering Services Ltd which is also responsible for constructing Lot Two, Montrose to Golden Grove; and Lot Five, Triumph to Mon Repos.
While the company is expected to complete Lot Five for the March 2014 due date, it is unlikely Lot Two will be completed. According to Vaughn, encumbrances along Montrose to Golden Grove roadway are inhibiting work in that stretch. In fact, the Ministry has a court case that is awaiting a decision.
He said Colin Talbot is conducting works in Lot Six, Mon Repos to De Endragt, which was awarded to the tune of $345M. This project is expected to conclude on schedule.
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