JIS News

Funding has been identified to allow for work on the St. Catherine/St. Ann (Mount Rosser leg) highway project to resume next Friday (July 24).
This followed a meeting Thursday (July 16) involving Transport and Works Minister, Hon. Mike Henry, visiting executives of French contractor, Bouygues Travaux Publics, and the National Road Operating and Constructing Company (NROCC).
The parties also had a follow-up meeting with the Prime Minister, Hon. Bruce Golding, prior to agreement on the issue.
The Mount Rosser leg of the project, which is part of Highway 2000, was halted over a week ago, after Bouygues sent home over 200 workers due to financing problems. These problems were linked to an overrun of about US$27 million, which Mr. Henry blamed, primarily, on the failure of the previous Government to have a geotechnical study of the area done prior to tendering the contract.
A subsequent geotechnical study revealed unstable soils and unsuitable rock formations on the lands identified for the project. This resulted in the need for financing for additional costs including earthworks, blasting, drainage impacts, extensions of time, design costs and transfer of geotechnical risk involved in rectifying the situation.
The Ministry of Transport and Works had been seeking to realign the financing for the project over recent months, including sourcing the additional funding needed.
Mr. Henry, in commenting on the resolution of the matter, said he was “happy to have things back to normal.
“I look forward to the work being resumed in the same spirit of urgency with which it has been conducted so far,” he said.
He noted that, although there had been challenges with the development, since the present administration took it over in September 2007, including the costly re-emergence of the geo-technical issue, the project was actually ahead of its new schedule and is likely to be completed close to its original schedule of January 2010.

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