Dust smog, limited access to businesses among complaints over prolonged Cemetery Road project

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Cemetery Road, Georgetown residents, many of them business owners, have revived complaints over the delay in completing the road project. On Tuesday they lamented that dust and sand from ongoing work is affecting their health and profitability with some businesses now closed to facilitate the work.

Earlier in the day, Minister of Public Works Juan Edghill told the News Room that contractors who surpass their deadline will face liquidated damages and therefore lose profits on the work.

The minister previously said the contractor was told to work towards a January 31, 2024 deadline. However, the minister explained that any contractor, including the company awarded the contract, Avinash Construction, will face penalties if the work is not completed on time.

“In contract management if you have a time to finish a contract and you don’t finish it then something called liquidated damages that applies beyond the day is a deduction of a small percentage of the contract sum.

“While you may see the contractor doing his work, he may be in the process of losing,” the minister said.

The News Room visited North/East Ruimveldt on Tuesday and works were moving apace with one section tarred and another with a layer of bricks and sand.

During the visit at Cemetery Road, business owners within the vicinity shared their distress over the situation. In 2022 the contract was awarded for the road to be upgraded to a four lane road and according to a small business owner who sought anonymity, customers cannot access the area when the works are ongoing.

Fredrick Moore and Conrad Boele, residents affected by the prolonged roadwork. (Photo: News Room/ February 6, 2024)

Recently there was a closure to the road to facilitate some works there.

“My concern is that its been a while the road doing, it’s been a year and change and sometimes the dust affects me a lot because everything you have to be covering up.

“Another thing, when they block off the road, the customers does be a little slow, it is kind of fatiguing and disgusting because it’s been a while, I think it’s time they come to a close with it,” the woman said.

Another resident, Fredrick Moore, 56, complained that the sand from the sides of the road and the incomplete work is worrying.

“I ain’t know how they got the road here now so we ain’t know what is going on and they ain’t telling nobody what’s going on…all they said is the bridge down there supposed to done but it ain’t done yet.” Moore complained.

Conrad Boele, 82, who lived there for over four decades agreed that the dust is a major issue. The man said cleaning the windows is a hassle because of the dust.

“For the years I lived here, I never see nothing like this yet with all this dust, dust in your house, dust in your garage, dust all over, all on the windows, you sit down out there and you have to run inside [when vehicles pass]…this thing [the progress on the project] is like a dead stand,” the elderly man said.

The man also said that workmen work for a few days then they stop and start back after about two weeks, further delaying the project.

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