|Road works cost not expected to rise|
Royston Jones Jr.
Guardian Staff Reporter
Published: Jun 28, 2012
The government is committed to keeping the cost of the controversial and severely over-budget New Providence Road Improvement Project (NPRIP) within the $200 million range estimated by the former administration, said Renward Wells, parliamentary secretary in the Ministry of Works and Urban Development.
“We came to power telling the Bahamian people that we intend to deal with this project; that we intend to have it finished; that we intend to try to make their lives during the process of this project being finished easier, and they can be assured that the Ministry of Works... is doing just that,” Wells told The Nassau Guardian yesterday.
During the election campaign the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) promised to look into the project, which has been plagued with cost overruns and severe delays.
As for the traffic management system, the PLP said at the time that it would look at reversing changes made to some of the thoroughfare, including Market Street and Blue Hill Road, which are one-way systems.
Wells said yesterday that the government would have to consider the cost implications and the effects any changes would have on the overall flow of traffic before any decision was made.
“There were studies done as to why they (Ingraham administration) did it the way they did it,” he said.
“We would not have done it that way. But again we are stuck with the cost issue and those are things we are factoring in.”
Former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham reported to Parliament earlier this year that the NPRIP was $77 million over budget.
However, PLP officials have said that the project is $93 million over budget.
In 2008, the government signed a $119 million contract with Jose Cartellone Construcciones Civiles (JCCC) to carry out the work.
The project’s completion date was originally October 19, 2011, then it was amended to January 2012 due to delays resulting from unforeseen challenges, the former government said.
However, it has since been revealed that the project is not likely to be finished until the end of the year, more than a year and a half behind schedule.
According to Minister of State for Finance Michael Halkitis, the government intends to begin compensating business owners adversely affected by the project within the next two weeks, continuing the initiative started by the former government.