The South Leeward rehabilitation project, which is contracted to be completed by May 2016, is running “slightly behind time”, Prime Minister and Minister of Works, Ralph Gonsalves, said Monday.
The project will see the road from Kingstown to Layou being resurfaced, widened in some places, and drains installed.
Actually, work on the highway began about a year ago, but road users are expressing frustration with the progress, as the contractor, Dipcon Engineering, is yet to resurface any section of the highway.
The construction of drains and retaining walls is still incomplete.
Resurfacing is yet to begin, even on the stretch of road between Campden Park and Questelles, the only segment that seems to be near completion.
Two weeks ago, the stone on a section of that stretch came loose sending many vehicles skidding.
While motorists and other road users have acknowledged that there will be inconveniences during the upgrade, they have also lamented the impact, on their vehicles, of the large potholes in some segments of the road, which have caused tyres to blow out and shocks to become worn in mere months.
Dipcon recently laid off most of the staff that it had employed on the road.
In response to a question about the highway, Gonsalves told reporters:
“The last report I got is that they are slightly behind time and they could make up their time.”
He said the delay is related to the availability of hot mix asphalt and aggregate, which he also said is affecting the repair of roads in other parts o the country.
“There is a solution which is at hand. But seems to me that they are doing — the shape of the road and the kind of drainage, and the widening, it is a good design. Of course, there could always be better designs. But it is what your dollar can pay for. That’s the reality,” Gonsalves said.
He said Dipcon, which owns a hot mix asphalt plant, has indicated that it might seek permission to import crushed stone from Dominica.