Challenges delay Airport Gateway project
Guardian Staff Reporter
Published: May 18, 2013
Contractors on the Airport Gateway Project were forced to change plans after workers uncovered “significant” challenges in the ground, possibly setting the project back by another few weeks, Chief Engineer at the Ministry of Works David Bullock said yesterday.
“We identified that there is a 20-inch ductile iron main that is under the new road construction,” Bullock said.
“It’s so shallow and the condition of the main is so poor, we had no choice but to excavate and remove it.
“The problem is that it was corroding quite badly and if the corrosion continued, which it would, then it could actually end up collapsing and the road subsiding.
“... So that additional work had to go into the program. But that is a typical problem that you find with this type of construction work.”
The corroded main was discovered near the intersection of Blake Road and John F. Kennedy Drive. Bullock said the discovery presented a number of challenges for the contractor regarding the flow of work.
“So we switched things around to bring forward works in the easterly sections of the project,” he said.
“So now the section of road by the six-legged roundabout is near completion, which wasn’t originally planned. We brought that forward because we have to replan other activities on the site.”
Asked how the additional work would impact the project, which has already been delayed several times, Bullock said there will likely be a delay.
“It’s possibly going to affect the works because that’s a significant piece of work that has to be done,” he said. “... So in terms of overall completion, that’s going to be knocked on.
“What we don’t want is to cause inconvenience to the public. We’re trying to open up as much of the highway as we possibly can. So this means that there will be work that will be ongoing because it could take six weeks longer.”
However, he added that road users will not be severely impacted.
At worst, Bullock said the contractor may have to close off one lane in a dual carriageway. He added that road users will still be able to drive along the roads as they are being worked on.
While the project has had challenges there have also been some successes.
Bullock noted the dual carriageway that connects the six-legged roundabout to the Gladstone Road roundabout was opened this week.
He said only the first layer of asphalt has been laid. The second layer will be added at nights so as not to impact traffic.
Director of Works John Canton said contractors are still hoping to meet a September deadline.
“We are still optimistic that we will finish by the end of summer,” he said yesterday.
China Construction America (CCA) is building the highway.
The project includes the construction of a dual carriageway on John F. Kennedy Drive and the creation of nine new roundabouts.
The project encompasses approximately 6.2 miles of road, running from Windsor Field Road to the six-legged roundabout on J. F. K. Drive.
It is expected to improve the capacity of the entrance road system to the airport, as there is limited traffic capacity going into the downtown area.
In total, the project costs $72 million, Canton said.