March 15, 2012
Minister of Public Works and Transport Neko Grant has refused to give a completion date for the controversial New Providence Road Improvement Project (NPRIP).
When asked for a firm date on when the wildly over budget and long-delayed project would come to an end yesterday, Grant told The Nassau Guardian that he did not wish to comment on the overall development of the project and its completion.
The spokesperson for the roads and public infrastructure project, Shenique Albury, also said she could not provide a date for when the project will end because it is tied to current discussions for additional funding for the project, which the government is involved in with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).
The government will seek an additional $65 million from the IDB for the NPRIP.
"Part of those discussions for additional funding, will also include a final completion date. All of that is tied to one another and I am not able to state what we will have as the official completion date," Albury said.
"However, we are working to get the project completed as soon as possible."
Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham recently told Parliament that the project is under funded by $77 million.
Providing an update on some specifics of the project, Albury indicated that the Market Street and Wulff Road junction that was closed for excavation work approximately three weeks ago, would be reopened by the end of the week with the first layer of asphalt in place.
Last Saturday, the project's contractor paved Market Street between Brougham Street and Ross Corner. That section has now been reopened to the motoring public. Albury noted that a first layer of asphalt paving would be carried out on the northern section of Market Street by the end on this month through early April.
Paving along Prince Charles Drive, which has been closed since January between Beatrice Avenue and Gleniston Subdivision Way, began Tuesday and is expected to be completed by Saturday, according to Albury.
"Persons would note that we are doing work on the junction of Prince Charles Drive and Fox Hill Road, and we started working there about two and a half weeks ago," Albury said.
"We are starting a second phase of work in a small portion of Fox Hill Road south - from the Prince Charles junction going a few hundred feet south toward the prison. There will be a closure in that area and there will be some diversion for the public, which is expected to last four to six weeks."
She also said the project has only been delayed for one or two days since the work restarted in January.
However, she admitted more delays could be forthcoming.
"We are going into a time where the rain is going to play a major factor," she said. "April and May are traditionally rainy months so we anticipate some delays. As always we try do whatever we can do and once the rain holds up, we proceed."
In 2008, the government signed a $119 million contract with Argentinean firm Jose Cartellone Construcciones Civiles (JCCC) to carry out the massive project. Government now expects the project to cost $206 million.
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News date : 03/15/2012 Category : Nassau Guardian Stories