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The Government and Bouygues Travaux Publics/Trans Jamaica Highway, have agreed that it will take some US$27 million, to deal with the problem of unstable soils that have been identified in the construction of the Mount Rosser bypass.
This sum is subject to approvals, Minister of Transport and Works, Michael Henry noted, in making the disclosure in the House of Representatives, yesterday (Oct. 14).
He explained that colluviums and talluviums, which are typically formed from hillside creep, landslides and debris flows, and highly fractured, faulted and folded limestone, with some former voids infilled with clays, have been found.
“Adjustments in the cut slopes will be required in order to remove these weak materials and flatten the slopes. The adjustment of slopes as proposed by the experts, principally in the weak colluviums, will require increased cuts and fills in selected areas along the alignment, totalling some 35 per cent (1.7 million cubic metres) more of cuts than was originally envisaged,” the Transport Minister outlined in his statement.
Mr. Henry also noted that the US$27 million takes into account additional earthworks; additional blasting; drainage impacts; extensions of time; design costs and transfer of geotechnical risk.
In addition, the Minister said that the settlement sum includes the transfer of the risk associated with any future discovery of unstable soils to the developer/ contractor in keeping with the original concession agreement.
“It should be noted that the majority of the cost relate to additional work required and very likely could have been required even if these issues had been identified earlier,” Mr. Henry said.
He also informed that given that the project is expected to utilise in excess of 30 million litres of oil-based products, such as diesel, bitumen and MC 70, oil price increases will also impact the project significantly.
“In order to mitigate the future impact of fuel increases, Bouygues Travaux Publics/Trans Jamaica Highway and the National Road Operating and Constructing Company, have been in discussions with overseas banks, to hedge the costs of fuels at a fixed price over the remaining life of the contract. This we anticipate will serve to mitigate future increases and the impact on the project,” Mr. Henry said.
The Transport Minister also stated that in order to review the overall North- South Alignment and identify the costs and priorities of the next phases, and ensure that “we are getting the best value for money,” a workshop was convened over the period September 30 to October 2, 2008.
“It is anticipated that the results of the workshop will be presented to me by the end of October at which time these issues will be considered further,” Mr. Henry said.
The Mount Rosser Bypass project, which is a part of the North-South link of Highway 2000, was originally scheduled to cost US$108.5 million and be completed by January 2010, but this has been revised to US$135.5 million and a completion date of January 2011.