Cemetery Road, Conversation Tree contractors could face termination over delayed works

The content originally appeared on: INews Guyana
A section of Cemetery Road where road works are ongoing

Public Works Minister Juan Edghill has issued a stern warning to contractors carrying out major works on two main roads in Georgetown, at Cemetery Road and Conservation Tree Road, cautioning that they could face termination if they do not meet new deadlines given to them.

“These two important thoroughfares that we can’t allow to languish like this,” Edghill posited at his Ministry’s end-of-year press conference on Friday.

At Cemetery Road, the Public Works Minister said this project should have been completed this year and Government is concerned about the delays.

“The project is significantly behind time, which is of concern to us. The contractor has received a revised deadline of January 2024 to complete this road… If January end comes and this project is not completed, the contractor will be removed from the project and we will get a proper contractor, a dedicated contractor, to complete, or the Special Projects Unit,” the Minister cautioned.

Public Works Minister Juan Edghill

He noted that Cemetery Road is too much of an important road for the Ministry to allow the delays to prolong further. In fact, he noted that the delays with this project “is not one of our proud moments in 2023 at all.”

The $475M contract for the upgrade works on Cemetery Road was awarded to Avinash Construction and Metal Works Company last year and the project was expected to be completed since July 2023.

Back in August, Edghill had told the National Assembly, in response to questions from the Opposition, that rain and procurement delays took a toll on the project’s advancement.At the time, Edghill revealed that only 25 per cent of the project had been completed, with some $197.4 million of the contract sum spent.

A breakdown of the contract shows that from Princes Street to Sussex Street, 20 per cent has been completed. It was explained that this section of the project has been delayed by rain, shortage of concrete and materials and the relocation of utilities.

Meanwhile, five per cent was completed from Sussex Street to Middle Road as of August. A similar per cent was also completed from Middle Road to Front Road. Both sections, $68.6 million and $66.5 million, respectively, were delayed by rain.

While $86.1 million was allocated from the contract for Front Road to Mandela Avenue and $15.9 million for traffic lights, signs and other road furniture, no notes accompanied these categories. However, 50 per cent was listed under per cent done for traffic management and control. General items meanwhile saw 80 per cent of $54.2 million from the contract being spent.

The Cemetery Road upgrade is part of $1.4 billion Enhancement Project along Independence Boulevard and Cemetery Road.

Conversation Tree

Meanwhile, Edghill during Friday’s press conference similarly expressed concerns about the pace of the works being done on sections of the Conversation Tree Road.

[File Photo] A section of the Conversation Tree/Delhi Street road widening projectGuyanese company S Jagmohan Construction and General Supplies Inc (Lot One) and Trinidadian-owned Kalco Guyana Inc (Lot Two) were awarded the contract for the $1.8 billion road widening project from Conversation Tree to Dennis Street, Georgetown.

According to Edghill, while the works on Lot One are progressing satisfactorily, the same cannot be said for Lot Two.

“Significant delays are being experienced at Lot Two. The contractors also received a revised deadline and if Lot Two is not completed as well – that’s the contract with Kalco – they will be removed from the project and we will complete it,” the Public Works Minister stated.

In July, Minister Edghill had called out Kalco for being behind schedule on the project, which had a November 5 deadline.

At the time, both contractors were experiencing delays but while works were progressing on Lot One, there was no progress at Lot Two.

After expressing concerns about Kalco’s non-performance, the Public Works Minister had told reporters in September that the Government and the company have since met and made certain agreements. This included Kalco engaging Guyanese subcontractors to do specific aspects of the work so that multiple things will be done simultaneously to move the project along.

This project involves the construction of a four-lane carriageway from the East Coast Highway at Conversation Tree to Delhi Street.

It also includes a double-lane carriageway on the reserve west of Delhi Street for northbound traffic and the implementation of concrete revetments between the East Coast Demerara Highway and Railway Embankment.

During the project launch last year, Minister Edghill had emphasised that this initiative forms part of Government’s plan to provide alterna

Public Works Minister Juan Edghill

tive routes to persons entering and leaving Georgetown.

S Jagmohan Construction and General Supplies Inc.’s contract is to the tune of $1,066,358,738, while Kalco Guyana Inc.’s contract is $830,293,458.