Photo Credit: BVI Platinum News
Government yesterday, February 21, signed a $876,250 contract with St. Lucian company FDL Consult Inc., for engineering design and supervision for the rehabilitation of 3.9 kilometers of roads, slopes and coastal defenses over the next two years.
The contract will be funded from the $25 million designated for road construction within the $65 million Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) recovery loan.
Minister of Communications and Works, Hon. Mark Vanterpool, who is seeking re-election under the National Democratic Party (NDP), insisted that this contract signing for the road works was not an election ploy.
Following the recent paving of roads, there was public speculation that the move was intended to attract votes.
At the signing yesterday, he said, “There are major things to happen in the Territory. It doesn’t matter if election is tomorrow or next year or next month. Let’s keep moving to make it happen. The Cabinet approved this contract, I think it was December 15 last year. I am really surprised it took so long to get to this point.”
He added, “I would like to see one day, from Cabinet’s approval to executing these projects, that the timeline can be much shorter. This is much too long....Months after Cabinet approved it, something as important as this…I would like to see it in future happen much quicker. It doesn’t matter to me if election is tomorrow or next year.”
It was explained that the Invitation for Bids was publicized back in August 2018.
It should be noted that the contract is only for the design of the infrastructure and supervision of the works. The contractor for the construction of the roads and sea defense structures will be selected after the designs are complete.
According to Minister Vanterpool, “As part of the design process, a climate risk and vulnerability assessment will be undertaken to ensure that the rehabilitated infrastructure is strengthened to mitigate against future catastrophic events.”
He divulged that FDL Consult. Inc. “outbid 21 firms that sent in Expressions of Interest, five shortlisted firms and one firm from the Bahamas.”
This project includes work from Blackburn Highway to the Ridge Road, Drake’s Highway to Carrot Bay, Cane Garden Bay and Great Mountain, among several others.
“I hope very, very shortly, under whichever government, that another contract will be let to design the complete road infrastructure throughout the Territory,” he stated.
Meanwhile, Premier and Minister of Finance, Hon. Dr. D. Orlando Smith said that the company is expected to present designs for better and stronger roads that can withstand events such as those of 2017.
“These events significantly affected the physical infrastructure of the Territory, including damages to major and minor roads, failed embankments and destruction of miles of coastal defense,” the Premier stated.
He went on to say, “The impacts of the events are not negative however, as they exposed weaknesses in our infrastructure and systems.”
As such, he said the Government is seeking to transform these weaknesses into opportunities.
“The exposed weak points in our physical infrastructure has given us the opportunity to review the way we build, examine the design standards used by professionals operating in the Territory, and to incorporate the findings into rebuilding and developing better, smarter and stronger,” he stressed.
Continuing, he said, “The project engineer and manager is tasked with ensuring the proper design and implementation of the project. It is also expected that the design standards developed under these projects will be adopted and incorporated as standards of future designs.”