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$10.3m to push road projects

marciadottin, [email protected]

$10.3m to push road projects

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ABOUT $10.3 MILLION is being allocated to fund immediate roadwork projects, including the completion of the much-delayed St Martin’s Road in St Philip.
Minister of Transport Michael Lashley, in introducing a money supplementary under his ministry in the Lower House yesterday, said the $10.39 million would go toward highway construction and maintenance services, as well as outstanding sums for what he termed “extremely costly” street lighting.
He said over $8 million had been allocated in March to the private-public sector partnership programme involving work in St Philip, St George and Christ Church, and between April 1 to November 30 last year, some $539 000 was spent on the project.
He said St Martin’s, in particular, had been featured prominently in the media and had been the subject of numerous letters to the area’s parliamentary representative, Adriel Brathwaite, but since then the contractor Rayside Construction, working with the Ministry of Transport and Works (MTW), had completed 98 per cent of the project “to the satisfaction of residents and business houses in that area”.
He said, however, that inclement weather had delayed the work somewhat.
Lashley also noted some $3.5 million would be used to complete work on road projects started in 2011 at Warrens and on Highway 2 to Green Hill, Jackson and Redman’s Village. However, he added, land acquisition would also be part of this programme, involving 54 parcels of land at an additional cost of $17 million.
Also included in the supplementary yesterday were monies owed to Rayside Construction and Brathwaite’s Construction and Transportation Services, for work done at Checker Hall to Colleton in St Lucy and at Eastbourne in St Philip.
The minister also said part of the $10.3 million would also be pumped into the ministry’s traffic and street lighting programme.
“The average monthly bill for traffic and street lighting is $455 559.66 per month . . . Payment has been made up to the end of July 2013 and the outstanding bills total $3 925 496.50. It is extremely costly. And an additional sum of $2 277 798.13 will be required to meet the cost of this programme,” he said, noting Government was looking at ways to bring this cost down.
Mentioning an extensive programme of major roads which had been given the green light by the Minister of Finance and which was due to start by monthend, Lashley said general workers retrenched from the Drainage Division under the MTW should be able to find employment in that $100 million programme.
“We would have room for those general workers,” he said. While MTW had been “sometimes unfairly criticized” it had set a high standard and the quality of its work could not be questioned, the minister said.
He also expressed condolences to the family of the late Transport Board senior employee and Barbados Workers’ Union stalwart, Byron Jackman, who died on Monday. (RJ)