The Leguan Stelling upgrade project has been delayed by constant requests from the business community.
Minister within the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, Jaipaul Sharma, related to this publication that the residents, primarily the business community and farmers, have been requesting extensions on the project to facilitate their goods and services and movements of their produce.
The Minister said that this has put a strain on the contractors as well as the project deadline.
He added that the design for the project is completed.
However, the contractors cannot work with the ferry mooring at the stelling. “It interferes with the work that is being done… and I constantly receive calls from residents requesting I allow the ferry to go to Leguan to move produce.”
There have been complaints from some sections of the population about the prolonged project.
To this end, Sharma explained that allowing the ferry to moor at the stelling while work is ongoing “can cause the stelling to collapse…However, not allowing the project to continue can also have the same result.”
This project was awarded to S. Maraj Contracting Services in 2018 for $412M but is now estimated to cost $580 M due to additional works coupled with the initial engineer’s estimate and quantities being deficient.
Sattrohan Maraj, owner of S. Maraj Contracting Services explained that this is because the initial piles were 80 feet long but during the test pile phase, it was determined that 80-foot piles are too short.
He also explained that an arrangement was made with the Transport & Harbours Department to facilitate the mooring of the ferry during the routine morning and afternoon schedules to allow daily commute between the Island and Parika.
However, the midday trip would be cancelled to facilitate their work. This arrangement was hindered after the M. B Sandaka was sent to service the Suriname-Guyana route; leaving one vessel to service Bartica to Parika and Parika to Leguan.
Maraj also explained that while the commute of passengers can be accommodated during ongoing works by extending beams further out to the ferry the same cannot be done to accommodate vehicular traffic.
In early December 2019, the contractors were forced to divert their attention from the initial upgrade project to facilitate emergency repair works on a collapsed section of the Stelling.
The rehabilitation and upgrade project is a result of severe damage to the stelling due to the force of the tide along with deteriorated condition of the beams and piles caused by the salt water and barnacles.
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