Jan 22, 2021 News
– new contractor hired to take over project
Kaieteur News – The contractor that was awarded an $86.685 million contract for the Geometric Improvement – Hunter Street Project has been fired. This was revealed by an official of the Ministry of Public Works, who stated that contractor was dismissed from the project due to delayed works and has since been replaced by a new contractor, who was tasked with completing the rest of the works.
The contractor was awarded the $86.685 million contract, which was signed on May 8, 2019 by the Ministry of Public Infrastructure (MOPI) under the previous administration. The works had comprised of the construction of a pedestrian sidewalk with concrete drains between Front Road and Daisy Street, and Water Lilly Street and Mandela Avenue on the eastern side of the carriageway, along with the widening of road shoulders, full construction of concrete drains at the western side and asphalt concrete road surface finishes.
In the 2019 Auditor General’s (AG) report, it was highlighted that even though there were significant delays in the works by the initial contractor, he was granted three extensions. The start date for the works was June 10, 2019, and it was expected to be completed by December 11, 2019. Moreover, the completion date was extended from December 11, 2019 to 13th March, 2020, then to July 17, 2020 and finally to 7th August, 2020.
“The contractor was granted three extensions, resulting in a revised contractual completion date of 7th August, 2020. A physical verification done on October 9, 2020 revealed that the works were incomplete; even though the revised contractual completion date expired. It should be noted that at the time of the physical inspection, there was minimal work activity, with the contractor’s work force on site comprising only one foreman and seven workers,” the report stated.
The report also noted that even though the contractor failed to pursue the works diligently, the MOPI still granted the three extensions instead of taking action. Justifications for the extensions of time were not seen and the basis on which they were granted could not be determined.
Kaieteur News was told that the new contractor taking over the project will be responsible for completing the remaining works left by the initial contractor. This includes the paving of the road, which was also confirmed by the Minister of Public Works, Juan Edghill, who spoke to Kaieteur News on Wednesday, when he stated that the initial contractor is “off the site.”
This publication also understands that the new contractor will be paid the remainder of the contract sum, as a significant portion was already paid to the initial contractor. The AG report stated that on December 31, 2019, amounts totalling $13.003 million were paid to the contractor, which represented approximately 15% of the contract sum. Subsequently, four interim payments were made in 2020, resulting in the total payments amounting to $35.041M, which represented approximately 40% of the contract sum.
The initial contractor was also paid a sum of $120,000 for Safety and Traffic control. However, it was highlighted that at the time of the physical verification, there was no traffic control, caution signs, caution tape, barricades or traffic cones indicating that the work site was in operation. Follow-up checks conducted randomly by the Audit Office revealed that poor traffic management remained, resulting in frequent traffic congestion, as equipment and construction materials were often left precariously along the road side without any precautionary measures being in place.
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