Davis: Expanding road project would be ‘irresponsible’
Guardian Business Reporter
Published: Oct 10, 2013
While some have questioned why the government did not see fit to include pedestrian amenities as part of the $71.6 million Airport Gateway Project, Minister of Works and Urban Development Philip Brave Davis said any improvements made to the project would have led to additional expenses.
During a communication in the House of Assembly yesterday, Davis said making a decision like that would have been “irresponsible” on the government’s part.
“There are folks who question why no plan was included to make use of the southern shore of Lake Cunningham for pedestrian and cycle pathways,” he said.
“They believe that this could have been accomplished by placing the underground utilities where the north side of the roadway is now and designing a narrow median way between the traffic lanes.”
To date, work on the project has been described as being 99 percent complete, with only some landscaping and other minor works outstanding. Nearly $65.5 million has been spent on the project.
“While there are certainly concerns related to the Airport Gateway Project, I wanted to assure the public that, in this case, it appears that the project went as planned and within the cost projected. There are those, not without some justification, who would complain about the overall layout and the $11,500,000 cost per mile,” according to Davis.
“It is now substantially complete with no further delay anticipated except for unforeseen circumstances such as adverse weather conditions.”
The Airport Gateway Project is scheduled to officially open today with a ceremony.
Construction on the Airport Gateway Project started back in May 2011. To facilitate the construction, the Free National Movement (FNM) administration borrowed nearly $58 million from the Export-Import Bank of China at a low two percent interest rate, something that while in opposition at the time, the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) opposed.
The FNM signed a $67 million contract with China Construction America Incorporated for the construction of the project in 2010.
The project encompasses approximately 6.2 miles of road running from Windsor Field Road to the new six-legged roundabout on John F. Kennedy Drive and includes the construction of a dual carriageway along John F. Kennedy Drive; the rehabilitation of the existing carriageway for east-bound travel; construction of nine roundabouts; the underground installation of a 24-inch water main that will take water from the west to the east of New Providence; the underground installation of all electrical services and low voltage cables; the relocation of telecommunication and cable infrastructure; dense landscaping, and the completion of ancillary work, including drainage, signage, street lights and accesses.