AFTER weeks of inactivity, road works have recommenced on the derelict Hunter Street, under a new contractor.
The new company now has the uphill task of rectifying some of defective works that were done by the previous contractor, including the removal and replacement of the sand-filling. Vieira 66 Logistics was recently awarded the contract to complete the project, which focuses on the section of the street that stretches from West Ruimveldt Front Road to Mandela Avenue.
“I’m doing the road, so that’s the capping of the road and the sidewalks,” explained company owner, Mark Vieira.
Vieira, while estimating that it will take less than two months to complete the project, said that factors such as the weather, which is beyond the company’s control, could affect the timeline. “It depends on the weather and everything else, but maybe a month, [a] month and a half, it should be completed,” Vieira noted.
Hunter Street is one of a few alternative routes connecting the East Bank Demerara to the city, and therefore has become a major road for many commuters looking to avoid the heavy East Bank-bound traffic.
Given the heavy amount of traffic traversing the roadway, the decision was taken to effect repairs and upgrade the street . The initial contract for $86.6 million was awarded in May 2019 to Surrey Paving and Ideal Engineering for the geometric improvement of the street, which included raising the level of the road above the drains to prevent flooding and the upgrade of the sidewalks. The contract was initially scheduled to conclude in December 2019. The contractor was given several extensions , even though works on the project were at a standstill. Last month the Ministry of Public Works noted that moves were being made to terminate the contract.
It is unclear how much money was paid Surrey Paving and how much is being paid to Vieira 66 Logistics to complete the project. It is also uncertain why the original company was unable to complete the project.
Efforts to contact Minister of Public Works Juan Edghill for a comment proved futile. Under Surrey Paving the road had been expanded and sand- filled, but remained in a deplorable state, even as vehicles continued to traverse the thoroughfare. According to Vieira, the sand-filling done by the previous contractor was not sound enough and as such, his company now has to rectify this before it is able to move forward. “There’s a lot of impurities in it, wood, plastic, mud, so to make sure we get a fantastic job, we’ve basically got to take out the sand they put in and add fresh stuff. In these conditions with the weather this was very, very difficult, but we’re hoping to get that finished between now and Wednesday, and then from there we move forward,” Vieira explained. Last Sunday, the company’s workers were seen busily removing the sand-filling. Project Foreman, Matthew Vieira said notwithstanding the challenges, the company is looking forward to doing a good job.
“We are going to try to work through the night to get it finished as fast as possible, and we look forward to giving the people of the neighbourhood a beautiful road. We don’t know why the past contractor took so long to do the road, it could’ve been completed a while ago,” Matthew shared in an interview with the Guyana Chronicle.
In addition to changing the sand- filling, Matthew Vieira said there are other aspects that the company has to work to correct.
“We’re trying to fix the bad work the last contractor did. They gave us more stress than if we had to do the project from scratch,” he commented.
He further explained: “The foundation was bad, the drainage wasn’t good either and they broke some pipes and just throw sand over it [sic]. We already made a call to GWI and hopefully they come next week to look at it.” He said that due to the Christmas season and heavy traffic, the decision was taken not to close the road even though work is being done.