Gov’t can­cels US$4.7M over­pass at Di­a­mond

Stabroek News Sunday - - FRONT PAGE -

The sale of a gov­ern­ment re­serve to a pri­vate in­di­vid­ual has caused the Min­istry of Pub­lic In­fra­struc­ture to can­cel plans to con­struct a US$4.7 mil­lion over­pass at Di­a­mond, East Bank De­mer­ara.

Min­is­ter of Pub­lic In­fra­struc­ture David Pat­ter­son ex­plained to Sun­day Stabroek that the In­ter-Amer­i­can De­vel­op­ment Bank-funded project was de­signed to use the empty space at the junc­tion of the en­trance to Di­a­mond Hous­ing Scheme and the East Bank High­way, which was shown on the min­istry’s plans as a road re­serve.

“How­ever, we were then in­formed that the road re­serve was ac­tu­ally sold to a pri­vate in­di­vid­ual un­der the pre­vi­ous ad­min­is­tra­tion. We had no op­tion but to can­cel the ten­der and project. We are work­ing on an al­ter­na­tive site for an­other exit to Di­a­mond,” Pat­ter­son said.

He noted that it’s not nor­mal prac­tice to sell re­serves, since they are re­served for fu­ture ex­pan­sion works, but could not say ex­actly when or by whom the sale was ap­proved.

“We were un­aware un­til it was too late,” he ex­plained, be­fore adding that his min­istry is now look­ing at a site south of Di­a­mond to put in an ac­cess road, which will pass be­hind First Av­enue and exit just be­fore DDL.

The an­nounce­ment of the can­cel­la­tion of the over­pass comes eight months af­ter bids were opened at the Na­tional Ten­der and Pro­cure­ment Ad­min­is­tra­tion Board.

In Jan­uary, seven com­pa­nies, namely Toolsie Per­saud Quar­ries In­cor­po­rated, H Nauth & Sons, Gaico Con­struc­tion & Gen­eral Ser­vices In­cor­po­rated, BK In­ter­na­tional In­cor­po­rated, Nabi Con­struc­tion In­cor­po­rated, R Bas­soo & Sons Con­struc­tion Com­pany and Kares En­gi­neer­ing In­cor­po­rated had sub­mit­ted bids for the con­struc­tion of the over­pass.

While the en­gi­neer’s es­ti­mate was US$4,703,028.66, the sub­mit­ted bids ranged from US $4.7 mil­lion from Kares En­gi­neer­ing In­cor­po­rated to US $9.5 Mil­lion from Gaico Con­struc­tion & Gen­eral Ser­vices In­cor­po­rated

The ve­hic­u­lar over­pass was pro­posed as a means to di­vert the ap­prox­i­mately 20,000 ve­hi­cles us­ing the Di­a­mond, East Bank De­mer­ara in­ter­sec­tion every day, and thereby bring much needed re­lief to the con­gested road.

“There is a se­ri­ous backup of traf­fic at Di­a­mond and if you’re from Di­a­mond you would know that you would have to leave your home at six in the morn­ing to reach to town early,” Project Man­ager at the Min­istry of Pub­lic In­fra­struc­ture Su­nil Ganesh had told Stabroek News in Oc­to­ber, 2016.

The project man­ager also re­vealed that the min­istry had done a traf­fic count that had shown that ap­prox­i­mately 20,000 ve­hi­cles use the Di­a­mond and East Bank High­way in­ter­sec­tion on a daily ba­sis. Of the 20,000 ve­hi­cles, 10,000 ei­ther en­ter or exit Di­a­mond Hous­ing Scheme, and some 8,000 travel to Ge­orge­town.

Ganesh had fur­ther ex­plained that the over­pass was sup­posed to be­gin be­tween First and Sec­ond Av­enue, stretch­ing

across and around the canal that sep­a­rates Di­a­mond and Grove, over the East Bank High­way, and end­ing around School Street (about 100 me­tres from the en­trance to Di­a­mond on the western side of the road).

The over­pass would have been 7.5 me­tres high and about 6 me­tres wide, and ca­pa­ble of ac­com­mo­dat­ing all sizes of ve­hi­cles.

David Pat­ter­son

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