By: Precious Mills
BASSETERRE, St.Kitts (Friday 1st February 2019)- The government’s Old Road Rehabilitation Project, estimated to cost in the vicinity ofEC$ 31 million with assistance from the government of the Republic of China (Taiwan), is said to be a comprehensive design which features a seaward displacement of about 30 feet.
On Tuesday 29th January, a contract signing ceremony was held at the Old Road Fisheries Complex parking lot in the vicinity of Sprat Net.
Affixing their signatures to documents were Director of Public Works Cromwell Williams as well as the owner of Rock & Dirt Ltd. Alexes Hazel (local contractor) and his son Jermaine Hazel.
This project is expected to see a 12-month completion timeline.
Williams pointed out that initially concern was about the threat of falling rocks as it relates to the rehabilitation project.
“We were concerned with the threat of the falling rocks but and thanks in part to hurricane Maria, we were reminded that this stretch of road is also vulnerable to storm surge. You would recall that after hurricane Maria in 2017, this road was seriously damaged, was cut off, impassable and so the solution that we’re looking at in addressing this project is comprehensive in that we are not just looking at the safety issue on the hillside but we’re looking at building resilience into the road network from storm surge in this instance.”
The Public Works official praised the design put together by ADeB Consultants of Jamaica.
“We are satisfied that they have presented to us a solution that is most practical and economical. This project would see the construction of a new road of approximately 1.2 kilometers long with a seaward displacement of around 30 feet and at an elevated level of about six to eight feet. The entire length of the road would be protected by rock armouring ranging up to 20 tons. This would be amongst the largest capital projects undertaken by a local contractor,” he remarked.
He then congratulated Rock & Dirt Ltd. for having won the bid for the project.
As understood, about five (5) local contractors participated in the bidding process.
Cromwell highlighted that Taiwan “will make a significant contribution to the project financially.”
He went on to say that: “The Republic of China (Taiwan) continues to play a major role in partnering in the development of our Federation in many areas including agriculture, education, national security and public infrastructure just to name a few.”
Resident Taiwan Ambassador Tom Lee, who has been residing in the Federation for about five months, made an observation about the importance of fixing the road.
“I’ve been posted to your beautiful country for a little five months and I cannot remember how many times I have passed this area; I would say at least over twenty (20) times, and I would say that I fully understand the need to rehabilitate this road. If you look on the road, one the one side , the road is very close to the sea and on the other side the road is very close to the mountain so if you don’t have very good eyesight …especially at night when you drive pass this area, you have to be very careful because you don’t want to fall into the sea, and at the same time if it rains especially very heavily then you also need to be aware of the falling rocks so I fully believe that if a hurricane comes now you don’t want to use this section of the road.”
Ambassador Lee added: “As the old saying goes, a friend in need is a friend indeed. The Republic of China (Taiwan) as a strong ally of St.Kitts and Nevis, we are very willing to respond to your need and provide timely assistance so we are very pleased to be one of the major donors of this project, and you can be rest assured that we will continue to work hard so that more people can benefit from our cooperation projects.”