KINGSTON — Minister of Transport and Works, the Hon Mike Henry, says that inflation in construction costs, and an added contingent in both contracts, have resulted in huge increases in the cost of construction of both the Queensborough and Cassia Park bridges in Kingston.
He said that another contributor was the price index for diesel fuel, a major component used in the type of construction, which increased by 118 percent.
Mr. Henry made the disclosures as he responded to questions in the House of Representatives on Tuesday (November 15) from Opposition Spokesperson on Transport and Works, Dr. Omar Davies, on the construction costs of bridges, which fall under the Jamaica Development Infrastructure Programme (JDIP).
The Transport Minister noted that both bridges were designed under the Priority Bridge Programme some five years ago, prior to being included in the JDIP in 2010.
"These two bridges were priced by the National Works Agency and tendered prior to being included in the JDIP, and these costs were later updated,” he said.
Mr. Henry pointed out that in terms of the Rio Grande Bridge costing was, however, done only under the JDIP.
"The designs for the entire bridge, including the installation scheme, were completed and detailed financial proposals prepared,” Mr. disclosed.
He told the House that the engineer estimate for the Cassia Park Bridge in 2005 was $52.44 million, but the estimated cost under the JDIP in 2010 was $183 million. The Queensborough Bridge was estimated to cost $45.52 million in 2005 but, under the JDIP, a contract was entered for a cost of $154 million. The Rio Grande Bridge is expected to cost US$28.8 million.
Explaining other changes in the works which have added to the costs, Mr. Henry said that in both Cassia Park and Queensborough 2005 estimates, it was not planned to relocate the existing National Water Commission water pipelines.
“In the current pricing, a decision was made to have these all relocated,” Mr. Henry explained.
The JDIP represents a major undertaking by the Government to significantly improve the island’s road network, in order to enhance the quality of life of citizens, and to stimulate economic development.
The Government of China has provided funding through the Export Import (EXIM) Bank of China. This partnership has made available, the sum of US$400-million (approximately J$36 billion) for a programme of works to be effected islandwide, on roads and road furniture, such as bridges, drains and traffic systems. The programme will be undertaken on all roads, both main and parochial.
By Latonya Linton, JIS Reporter