The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has suspended the disbursement of funds to the Chinese contractor for the US$31 million Sheriff Street/Mandela Avenue road expansion project, David Patterson, the Minister of Public Infrastructure has stated.
“This road expansion contract is an IDB funded contract which is subject to performance audits by the Bank.
“The IDB has suspended disbursement to the project because of the numerous serious health and safety infractions as well as traffic management failures by the contractor,” Patterson stated in a Facebook post Monday evening.
He said the contractor, SINOHYDRO, was warned on several occasions to rectify these issues “but unfortunately to date the majority of failures identified have remained outstanding.”
Patterson’s statement follows the termination of an employee; he said the termination letter had the reason for the dismissal is that the Ministry has not paid the contractor for the last three months.
“I have been on record on several occasions raising the issue about this contractor’s performance, so the suspending of disbursements by the IDB does not come as a surprise,” Patterson stated.
He said his Ministry has already commenced actions to address the defaulting issues since some of these failures pose serious safety risks to the general public.
“While the dismissal of any employee is regrettable, the contractor should not seek to blame any other entity for the clear disregard of contractual obligations,” Patterson declared.
He said a full statement will be provided by the Ministry on Tuesday.
The scope of works for the project includes pavement rehabilitation, road safety engineering, traffic and drainage improvement works, construction of bridges, culverts and a pedestrian overhead walkway.
The total distance of roadway to be rehabilitated/constructed is 7km.
Pavement rehabilitation works are to include the construction of a two (2) lane roadway with a concrete median separating the two lanes along Sheriff Street with sidewalks, cycle lanes and parking.
Mandela Avenue will involve the expansion of the roadway from a two (2) lane to a four (4) lane with a central concrete median, with shared-use paths (combined sidewalk and cycle lane.
Road construction works will also include a roundabout which will be constructed at the junction of Sheriff Street and David Street / Railway Embankment Road.