Gov’t will fix safety concerns on Sheriff Street project and bill Chinese contractor
Following the suspension of payments to the contractor of the US$31 million Sheriff Street/Mandela Road expansion project, the Ministry of Public Infrastructure says that road maintenance and general patching of the road surface will be conducted by the Ministry’s Special Project Unit and costs for these repairs will be deducted from the contractor’s payment since these repairs are part of his responsibility.
A statement from the Ministry in the wee hours of Wednesday made it clear that no supplementary funding will be required for the project and if the contractor does not fix the defects, the Ministry will repair/replace/secure the areas and deduct from the contractor’s payment.
On Monday, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) suspended the disbursement of funds to the Chinese contractor because of the numerous serious health and safety infractions as well as traffic management failures by the contractor.
The Public Infrastructure Ministry said that the contractor, Sinohydro breached Section 4.08 Environmental and Social Management of the loan agreement.
“The Contractor has not been implementing the required traffic safety and control measures of the site-specific Traffic Control Plans. These non-compliances were officially documented by the Ministry and conveyed several times to Sinohydro.
“In fact, for more than twelve months, the Ministry has consistently issued numerous Notices to Correct (NTCs) to Sinohydro on various environmental and social non-compliances, as well as on infractions related to traffic safety and control. Our most recent correspondence on these matters was October 25, 2019,” the statement explained.
The Ministry said it observed a general lack of routine maintenance being conducted by the Contractor during the construction period.
“Some road maintenance of potholes was done in September 2019, but the cleaning of drains, maintenance of street lighting, clearing of verges have not been done.
Nonetheless, it must be noted that there has been an effort by the Contractor to comply with the safety regulations in part, however there are still the matters of new sites and areas where drainage works are completed, that have been left in a deplorable and unsafe manner such as open drains, protruding steel, lack of pedestrian walkways / facilities, lack of signs and barriers as a result of several open work sites, lack of retro-reflectivity as well as the poor construction quality of signs and barriers as a result of which the barriers have fallen on the ground; and flaggers either not being present, or not perform the tasks of regulating traffic at the construction areas.”
The Ministry said it in discussions with the IDB regarding the measures to be adopted by the Contractor to facilitate the resumption of the disbursement of funds inclusive of a plan to correct all the misgivings under the contractual clauses.