Govt to facilitate remedial work on Sheriff-Mandela road – Min Edghill
– work to be executed simultaneously with road widening project
With the Sheriff-Mandela road in an almost impassable state due to ongoing works, the Government will facilitate remedial works targeting the many potholes as work is being done to widen the overall road by Chinese contractor Sinohydro.
This was disclosed by Public Works Minister Juan Edghill, who acknowledged that the Mandela road has severely deteriorated and as such, commuters are inconvenienced.
“Right now Mandela has deteriorated a lot,” the Minister said. “There’s a lot of potholes, lots of damage. So, I’ve instructed the chief engineer to engage the contractor, Sinohydro, and in a collaborative manner while we’re doing the road widening, putting in the infrastructure for the median and the lights, (we will patch the road) so that the travelling public’s experience can be more comfortable,” he explained.
According to Edghill, commuters are likely to see improvements to the road within a week, long before the actual Sheriff-Mandela road widening project is scheduled to be completed. The deadline for completion is set for August 2021.
“We’ll spend a couple million dollars to bring in asphalt, patch all the potholes and maintain it. (Sheriff-Mandela) is supposed to be finished by August. So the people who are complaining about how deteriorating that is, expect within a week we will have some improvement on Sheriff Mandela, as to what is known as the old road, by fixing some of the big potholes and the damage done to the road,” Edghill also explained.
The Sheriff-Mandela road upgrade project is being funded through a US$66 million loan from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). But the former Government has come in for some heavy criticism over its handling of the project.
It was revealed last year that $2.7 billion of the total funding has already been spent on the project. An additional $553 million had to be allocated in last year’s emergency budget by the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Government to complete the project.
Back in September 2020, Edghill had informed the National Assembly that with all the money spent on the project, it should have already been completed. However, he had noted that it was “badly mismanaged.”
The Public Works Minister had explained that when the PPP/C took office in August last year, there was no work being done, adding that this was not due to COVID-19 alone. He noted that the other reason was because of non-compliance with environmental standards which resulted in the IDB being forced to cease disbursements to the project.
Work on the Sherriff Street-Mandela Avenue Project began since August 2018, with the contract for the project being awarded to Chinese company Sinohydro Corporation Limited since November 2017.
However, there was a period in 2019 when the IDB had halted funding for the project due to health and safety violations by the contractor. The matter was further compounded by the election impasse, but following the return to office of the PPP Government, the IDB was re-engaged.
The project, which will cover approximately seven kilometres of road between Sheriff Street and Mandela Avenue, involves the relocation of utilities; the installation of lane and shoulder improvements; placement of sidewalks and paved shoulders; traffic signals, traffic signs, street lights, drainage; a pedestrian overhead walkway; culverts, bridges, and a roundabout.