Minister of Transport and Works Senator Julian Francis holds the contract signed by Permanent Secretary in that Ministry, Hudson Need, and Ian Singh of Dipcon Engineering. (IWN photo)

Actual physical work on the South Leeward Highway will begin in June, and will see major improvements to the road network, including flood prevention measures near the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital in Kingstown.

But transport officials have also warned that there will be major disruptions, and have advised commuters to leave home as much as one hour earlier than normal when the work begins.

“We know that the South Leeward area is very limited in terms of the road network, and as a consequence of improving this important piece of infrastructure, there is going to be inconveniences,” Hudson Nedd, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Transport and Work, said at a ceremony on Friday.

During the ceremony, Dipcon Engineering Services Ltd. and the government signed an EC$25.15 million contract for the rehabilitation of the 11.4 kilometre (7-mile) highway.

The work is expected to last 21 months, and the government says it will hire Marlon Stephenson as community liaison officer.

Some 160 persons are expected to be employed on the project, including up to 10 foreigners.

Brent Bailey, chief engineer in the   Ministry of Transport and Works, gave an overview of the project, saying the rehabilitation is “very critical project”.

It will see the road between Kingstown and Layou upgraded to a carriageway of between 6 and 6.4 meters (19.9 to 21.12 feet), and will include the installation of drains, retaining walks, and sidewalks.

Some wards of the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital were flooded during the rains last December, and Bailey said further changes will be made to the works which were planned before that weather event.

“… it needs further improvement, because with the new rainfall parameters that we have faced, we have to look at building our structure, especially where the hospital is concerned, bigger, stronger, more resilient so that we can avoid the events of 2013 and moving forward.”

Two 1.5 metre (4.95 feet) diameter culverts will be constructed to take water from the highway to North River.

“When we are actually doing that work, there will be significant diversions and we will have to have the public’s cooperation,” Bailey said.

In “Shuffler”, Questelles, where a section of the road close to an embankment has sunken and is prone to earth movement, the road will be shifted to the upper embankment.

Those areas will have “serious diversions,” Bailey said, but added that at all times, the contractor will attempt to ensure that there is one lane available, and have traffic coordinators.

In Campden Park, at the junction leading toward the Industrial Estate, the road will be widened to facilitate containerised traffic travelling toward the Leeward side of the country.

“That area is going to be widened, significantly adjusted. The road profiles will be changed in those areas. There will be sidewalks as well provided for the children going to the Lowman’s Anglican Primary School,” Bailey said.

There will be improvement at the gap to “Big Bush” in Rillan Hill.

“So, there will be significant improvement to the highway, both in width, both in protection,” Bailey said, adding that there will be significant disruptions to traffic, but efforts will be made to minimise them.

Meanwhile, Minister of Works Sen. Julian Francis said that one lane of the road must be opened at all times during the construction.

“Somehow or the other, all the science we have, we must be able to put the science in to have one lane open,” he said, noting that the only diversion between Campden Park and Rillan Hill is through Lower Questelles, where the road only allows for single-lane traffic

“Because you have to allow traffic at the bottom, one lane and traffic at the top, one lane. If not, you will be there for hours,” Francis said, and encouraged commuter to leave for work on hour earlier when the work begins.

“I am asking the people to be understanding and cooperative and the implementers … to make sure that we try to facilitate the travelling public.”

And, Ian Singh, a director at Dipcon Engineering Services Ltd., gave his company’s commitment to building a quality highway.

“We will endeavour to build a solid, first-class road that will stand the test of time,” he said, but added, “The inconvenience during the construction of this project will be substantial…

“We will be considerate and act responsible in our programming and execution. We will try our best to reduce the inconveniences but, at the same time, we have to complete the road in the quickest possible time. Although we have the right of work, a lot of the programme that we would do and execution will take into consideration the traffic flow and the commuters.”

He said the company hopes to complete the hospital drainage and shifting of the road in Questelles during the school’s summer vacation.

7 replies on “South Leeward highway restoration works to begin in June”

  1. The Bible say that in the last days only those that carry the mark would be able to work. And in SVG the majority of those who want to work has to carry the Labor mark. And we are wondering why SVG is like this? Evil is in our face staring us right in our eyes and we pretend that we don’t know. The ULP is an evil organization that might be the most unGodly government that has taken seat in SVG.

    Don’t worry we will get rid of them soon, them and their wickedness. You mean to tell me in that picture above these two young men have to wear red? Police men wearing red? everyone wearing red. The mark of the beast is alive and well in SVG.

  2. C. ben-David says:

    1. “Only” six months late and counting.

    2. The $EC 25.15 allocated is totally inadequate to do the job.

    3. How many years will it take to complete the work and how much over budget will the final tally be?

    4. How can these people in the photo be smiling?

  3. Something isn’t right about this photo, the minister appear to be forcing a document in front of the Dipcon rep. so he can be photographed with it, the Dipcon rep. is grinning and appear to be scratching his head in a kind of ‘i don’t want to be associated with that’ way, something wrong. A big contract to fix miles of road and make thousands of people happy and Ralph Gonsalves not in the picture?, something wrong. Work to begin in June?, start of the Carnival and rainy season?, oh i get it now, good reasons for delays.

  4. wilmoth aberdeen says:

    Mark my words ! the $25 million for the Leeward highway would disappear into thin air before they reach Camden Park..

  5. Carlos Walcott says:

    Lol…I have to admid that ks784 is correct. The photo does look stage and not something to be taken seriously. Looks like they are laughing at the absurdity of the whole thing. Well we go see!

  6. Patrick Ferrari says:

    C. ben-David, I can tell you why two of them are smiling, but as right as I would be, libel laws prevent me from saying. Here.

    But then again, everyone knows.

  7. peterbinose says:

    “Dear God, you made many, many poor people.
    I realize, of course, that it’s no shame to be poor.
    But it’s no great honor either!
    So, what would have been so terrible if I had a small fortune?”

    If I were a rich man,
    Ya ha deedle deedle, bubba bubba deedle deedle dum.
    All day long I’d biddy biddy bum.
    If I were a wealthy man.
    I wouldn’t have to work hard.
    Ya ha deedle deedle, bubba bubba deedle deedle dum.
    If I were a biddy biddy rich,
    Yidle-diddle-didle-didle man

    I’d build a big tall house with rooms by the dozen,
    Right on the rock at Shipping Bay.
    A fine gold roof with real wooden floors below.
    There would be one long staircase just going up,
    And one even longer coming down,
    And one more leading nowhere, just for show.

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