Photo Credit: BVI Platinum News
Sir Robert McAlpine (Holdings) Ltd of the Cayman Islands has entered the lowest bid of the three companies that submitted final proposals for the design, financing and construction of the Terrance B. Lettsome International Airport expansion.
Minister of Natural Resources and Labour, Hon. Dr. Kedrick Pickering indicated that the Cayman company submitted a bid of $377,178,606; the Walsh Group (USA) submitted a bid of $387,845,000 and China Communication Construction Company Limited (China) provided a bid of $415,545,159.37.
The Minister told the House of Assembly that to date, the Government has spent $185,113.58 on the project and this amount was spent on a variety of technical studies and consultancy services.
The proposals were opened by the Central Tenders Board on April 2, 2013 in the presence of the bidders. Bid evaluations commenced on April 8, 2013.
"The results of the proposals and the overall higher than expected cost demonstrates the challenging financial issues to be overcome if this project is to be realized," Dr. Pickering stated.
He explained that from a financial perspective, the current proposals for ten of the eleven components forming the airport development project are affordable; however, the piled runway component exceeded the projected budget ceiling envisioned.
"The Government of the Virgin Islands has been and will continue to be vigilant regarding this and other developments as we do not wish for this to become an albatross around the necks of the people of these Virgin Islands," Dr. Pickering stated.
He stated that in an attempt to reduce the cost of the piled runway component, Government has commenced to propose and evaluate an alternate value-engineering solution which involves a combination of embankment fill and piling to achieve this objective.
According to Dr. Pickering, in an effort to control the cost of the project, the Government recently issued a letter to the five originally short listed companies informing them about Addendum 15 that is expected to be issued shortly.
Terrance B. Lettsome International Airport
Photo Credit: BVI Platinum News
The Deputy Premier revealed that Addendum 15 is essentially a Request for Proposal (RFP) for the runway component of the project.
"The technical and legal teams are working through the details and finalising the technical aspects of the addendum to ensure that it meets international procurement standards, as well as ensuring that it also meets the Protocol for Effective Financial Management. Additionally, we are in the process of finalising the geotechnical, bathymetric and hydrographic surveys which are critical to the completion of this project," Dr. Pickering stated.
The Minister shared that he recently travelled to London and Brussels where he engaged in very useful discussions with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), the legal firm Baker MacKenzie and engineering consultant on the airport project, Consulmar.
He stated that the discussions were very useful and were aimed at ensuring that they implement the project in the most efficient and cost effective way possible.