Remarks by Honourable Kye M. Rymer
Minister for Transportation, Works and Utilities
One-on-One Live Press Conference
February, 25th 2022
I am grateful for this opportunity to provide the general public an update on the various projects that are taken place in my ministry of Transportation, Works and Utilities. I know that the Premier touched on what is happening within the Ukraine and Russia, but we all should be mindful as to the effects it will have on us as a Territory; especially as we try to continue to recover from Covid-19.
My portfolio it impacts the public on a daily basis, from water, to roads, to sewerage and the overall infrastructure of the Territory.
The estimates indicate that to repair, upgrade and rehabilitate our infrastructure it is likely to exceed over Two Hundred Million Dollars.
You may be aware, the funds received from capital projects, or received for capital projects are the surplus of the recurrent expenditure in the budget estimates and the revenue collection. I am happy to hear the Premier speak about our numbers, that we exceeded our estimated figures in the last budget cycle, and we pray for continued diligence in terms of our spending.
This surplus is also shared between all ministries, and with competing priorities. We get many requests for assistance for undermining roads, walls and other needs throughout all the districts, whether via the District Representatives or from residents directly.
As a result, we have to prioritise the various requests to meet the needs of all our residents. In addition to the civil mitigation works that we undertake, there are specific projects that my ministry is undertaking that I will give a brief update on, as to the progress and the overall programming of these works.
The Road Town Improvement Programme
The Road Town Improvement Programme, it’s a multi-pronged programme that seeks to improve the overall function and the aesthetics of the City of Road Town.
One of our primary concerns in the City of Road Town is to ensure that the traffic is flowing consistently and efficiently. We undertook the traffic turnaround in 2020 and we launched the shuttle services on 3rd February, 2022 to assist in reducing the number of vehicles in the center of Road Town and to reduce the need for parking in Road Town.
I encourage motorist, pedestrians to utilise our shuttle service. We have a consistent service and we are doing our part with doing green energy within our territory.
The shuttle service is a part of the bigger programme to push the free parking facilities towards the outskirts of Road Town, particularly at the Festival Grounds and the parking lot opposite the hospital. To this end, we are expected in the next two weeks to commence works to upgrade the entrance and exit area to allow for a better flow of traffic in and out of the Festival Grounds.
As we seek to make Road Town a more pedestrian friendly area, we recognize that there is need for upgrades to our sidewalks, our crosswalks and access points for businesses in the area.
We have had multiple discussions with the Public Works Department about specific areas throughout the Road Town area that we have targeted for improvement, which will be rolled out in a phased manner. I just want to highlight a few of these areas.
You would have seen the commencement of works to the sidewalks along Administration Drive.
The reconstructed sidewalks will have standardized wheel chair ramps to accommodate the disable as well as a reinforced base slab to ensure no further deformation of the sidewalks.
The improvement of the drainage at the intersection of Admin Drive and Water Front Drive (next to Romasco Building) will create an easier transition from Administration Drive to Water Front Drive for vehicular traffic that is heading west-bound.
Widening of the east bound lanes on the Dual Carriage Way next to the Brewley Building and the Maduro Building which houses the Post Office along with an addition of a wheel chair ramp for pedestrian friendly access.
Improvement of the wheel chair accessibility of the sidewalks and upgrade the drainage system within the Bobby’s Supermarket area.
Along DeCastro Street we intend to place wheelchair ramps on all the sidewalks to allow for all our sidewalks to be wheelchair accessible and enhancing the turning radius to allow for vehicles to better enter and exit from the various parking lots.
The East End/Long Look Sewerage Project
The long talked about, East End Long Look Sewerage project has been a longstanding project that this Government has made a priority to ensure that once and for all the residents of the 7th and 8th Districts can utilize a fully functional sewerage system.
My Ministry technical personnel have met and developed a phased strategy to complete the entire sewerage project. The first phase is to undertake the following:
1. Repair and Commission the Sewerage Treatment Plant at Paraquita Bay (we anticipate that we would have this done by the end of this year).
2. Connect the Long Look distribution system to the main gravity system and complete the Long Look distribution system.
3. Connect the Greenland distribution system to the main gravity system.
4. Construct, install and commission the main pump station at the Long Swamp area.
The general public will recall that we recently did the final segment to connect the force main pumping line into Paraquita Bay area. It is critical that we get the Paraquita Bay Treatment Plant repaired and commissioned so that all the pipe laying works and connection works can be sent to the Plant to be treated. We anticipate that a Request For Proposal (RFP) will be forthcoming in March whereby skilled and reputable companies will come forward to be able to repair and subsequently manage the Treatment Plant.
The issue is that we need to maintain these plants, so that we can have them for a long time.
We would have specific details on the RFP, which is critical, at a later time to ensure that all skilled companies, whether locally or intentionally are aware of our intentions.
The actual works on the ground in this first phase is to ensure that the existing system in the Long Look and Greenland areas are connected and subsequently collected at the main pump station at the Long Swamp area directly adjacent to the East End Police Station.
In the second phase as put forward by the technical team is to undertake the Parham Town to Long Swamp main gravity line. These works once completed will connect the Chapel Hill area all the way to Long Swamp pump station for collection onwards to the treatment plant.
We would also in this phase be doing works in the Major Bay area including putting in a collection system to connect to the gravity lines.
We anticipate that the first phase of works will be completed by August 2022 to coincide with the commissioning of the treatment plant at Paraquita Bay.
The Cane Garden Bay Sewerage Project
The Cane Garden Bay Sewerage project is another project that has been untaken and been spoken of for a very long time without any tangible works being undertaken on the ground. In 2021, we were able to contract a company to undertake the demolition of the existing sewerage treatment plant and construct a new wastewater treatment plant that can accommodate any further growth in the Cane Garden Bay area. The contractor is approximately 75% complete and we are anticipating that the new treatment plant will be commissioned by April 2022 with a system that will treat the sewerage to international standards.
We understand that the Cane Garden Bay community is very critical to our overall tourism product and it is important that we ensure that we are able to collect, treat and discharge of our sewerage to acceptable international standard. Our Government has made this project a priority and we are happy to see that this treatment plant will soon be commissioned.
The Ralph T. O’Neal Administration Complex Rehabilitation
Another proud project, as I look out the window I see The Ralph T. O’ Neal Administration Complex (R.T. O’Neal Administration Complex); and this is where seats of government and we are progressing steadfastly in undertaking the rehabilitation works. Critical to the rehabilitation is to ensure that the building is watertight and completely sealed off to ensure that mold infestation does not become a problem once the Complex is recommissioned. At present, the installation of the glass windows and doors are approximately 75% complete and are slated for completion in the next month. We have signed a contract for the basement access and drainage and those works are expected to commence in March of this year. We will shortly be signing a contract for the entire building envelope repair with works expected to commence in April.
The new elevator to the west atrium of the Complex is expected to be evaluated and a contractor to come on on-board in May. We are currently in the process of finalizing the interior designs which will include the mechanical, electrical, fire safety systems and Information Communication Technology (ICT) systems.
The Frenchman’s Cay Bridge
The Frenchman’s Cay Bridge is a project and it is another critical project that has been longstanding and your Government has endeavored to complete this project. On 25th February, 2021, exactly one (1) year ago tender documents were issued in an open tender process and bids were returned on 13th April, 2021.
Let me give you a little context of what took place; bidders were as follows:
• Accurate Construction - $371,118.98
• Quality Construction - $315,753.04
• Northam Construction - $386,981.76
• Meridian Construction Ltd. - $429,280.50
The bids were evaluated by the Central Tenders Board and Cabinet awarded based on the recommendation of the Central Tenders Board to Quality Construction, who was at that time the lowest bidder.
As part of the project, we are installing a bypass road to allow for the residents to traverse over to Frenchman’s Cay during the demolition and construction of the new bridge. The new bridge will be 30 feet in width with a 6-foot-wide sidewalk, guardrails will be installed and the actual road course width will be 24 feet in width. The new bridge will also be 1 foot higher than the existing bridge height as it is now. We are pleased that the bypass road has commenced on the 23rd February with the actual bridge demolition and construction of the new bridge commencing in March. We anticipate that the works will be completed by May 2022 and the residents and businesses will be able to traverse a much improved and structurally sound bridge.
The Carrot Bay Sea Defense
The works are being undertaken in five phases at five hundred linear feet per phase for the Sea Defense System in Carrot Bay coastline commencing in the vicinity of the Coal Pot Restaurant heading southward. The Sea Defense System is made up of two parts which are a gravity wall and a boulder revetment. The boulder revetment extends an average of 38 feet into the sea and the Gravity Wall has an average height of 6 feet-6 inches and 2 feet 6inches Thick. Once all Five Phases are completed the Sea Defense System will span 2,073 feet length of the Carrot Bay coastline from the Coal Pot Restaurant to the bridge beyond the Carrot Bay Post Office.
Preparatory works have been put in place which includes acquiring the necessary materials including lumber, steel, turbidity curtains and we are in the process of signing a contract for the procurement of the boulders and rocks to form the revetment. A community meeting is scheduled for 6th March, 2022 where we will share with the Carrot Bay community and the wider public the plans for the sea defense with an aim to commence works in April.
The Road Town Market Square
The Road Town Market Square project, although a part of the overall Road Town Improvement programme is a standalone project that will provide entrepreneurs with an opportunity to ply their goods and services to the public in a controlled environment. Works in the market started last year with the construction of the boundary planters. We have finalized all designs and are in the process of commencing works in the next couple weeks. The Market Square will see 16 kiosks constructed that will be leased. The area will also include a bathroom facility, a bandstand and a recreational space that will be appealing to both residents and tourists alike. We anticipate that the Market Square project will be completed later this year.
The Huntum’s Ghut Economic Zone
The Huntum’s Ghut Economic Zone this is another programme geared to provide entrepreneurs with an opportunity to develop their business ideas by being afforded a low cost rental space through which their business can grow. At present, works have commenced on the foundation works to the buildings and the procurement process for the steel frame buildings have commenced. The lower road works have been completed and the upper level road will be completed after the buildings have been completed. Other works to be undertaken include the repair of the bathroom building, the construction of a gazebo, the upgrade to the basketball court and general landscaping. It is anticipated that the buildings will be completed by August and the entire project is scheduled to be completed before year end.
Territorial Road Works
There are several road works that we have ongoing and I would highlight some of the critical areas.
The creation of a third lane, a holding lane along with sidewalks and drainage from the Ferry Terminal to McNamara Junction has just recently commenced. The main purpose of this additional lane is to accommodate holding lanes for vehicles seeking to enter various junctions, such as the Water Front Drive Parking Lot, the Hospital Junction, the Government House and businesses along that area. The holding lanes will help to alleviate traffic congestion by allowing for a smoother flow of traffic.
We have the Plantation Road in Jost Van Dyke and we will see the creation of over 1,300 linear feet of road and kerb wall with a standardise drainage system. The works are about 50% complete.
The Back Road in Jost Van Dyke will see the Rehabilitation of over five hundred feet of new road way. The works entail the raising of the existing bridge and cross drains, along with the demolition and replacement of the existing road with a concrete road. Kerb-walls and slipper drains were also constructed along the road to insure proper drainage. These works are more than 50% complete.
Of the eight projects done by the Recovery and Development Agency (RDA), the road-works through the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) loan, the Fish Bay Road is now the final project to be completed.
The works are currently ongoing and this represents the works under the CDB $65M loan.
We have progressed substantially with the construction of the major culvert crossing, retaining walls and kerb walls in the area commencing at Clarence Thomas Limited (CTL) that have been completed. Currently, drainage works in the area of the Skelton Bay Lot entrance is ongoing. Motorists and pedestrians are urged to take caution and obey all traffic signs and flag men while traversing the area.
The new Asphalt Plant is slated to be commissioned in March 2022. In addition, we have procured and have available a new asphalt paver, a milling machine and a new roller.
With these pieces of equipment and the commissioning of our asphalt plant will allow for the major undertaking of road rehabilitation works throughout the Territory. This is critical as have major road networks that are in need of repair and resurfacing and with the rising cost of material. Having the resources within the Public Works Department this will allow for us to be able to do much more with less. With the commissioning of the plant, we will be rolling out a phased road programme identifying areas for resurfacing.
Other Programmes In The Ministry
Other programmes that are being undertaken within the ministry; One such programme is the launching of a user friendly billing system by the Water and Sewerage Department to allow for residents and businesses to have greater clarity as to how their bills are being calculated. I know that this is a long standing issue, and persons within the community, they are concerned about the delay in their bill, but this programme we are hoping to have that rectified and more consistent available bill.
Ongoing works are continuing in upgrading our water network distribution system. This has been an ongoing process to ensure that we can provide 24/7 water supply to all residents. Over the years we have made repairs to various reservoirs, the Premier made mention of some. Also through the RDA three additional reservoirs were constructed, in the Long Bush Area; Carrot Bay and the Zion Hill. Over the years we have made repairs, and we will continue to those works.
We are also seeking to enact amendments to the Road Traffic Act; and hopefully at the nest sitting at the next House of Assembly, we would be have the 2nd and 3rd reading of the Water and Sewerage Authority Act.
And those are just some of the projects that are happening within the Ministry of Transportation, Works and Utilities. Thank You.