Contractors to pay liquidated damages over delays on Schoonord-to-Crane Highway

The content originally appeared on: INews Guyana
President Dr Irfaan Ali with the Project Engineer during Saturday’s visit (Office of the President photo)

The contractors working on the $11.8 billion four-lane highway project from Schoonord to Crane in Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara) are expected to pay liquidated damages over the delayed completion of the road.

During an inspection of the ongoing works on Saturday, President Dr Irfaan Ali was informed that the works are about 90 to 95 per cent completed at the two sections – Schoonord, West Bank Demerara, and Crane, West Coast Demerara.

Works ongoing on the Schoonord-to-Crane Highway

The Head of State cautioned the Project Engineer from the Housing and Water Ministry, Thakur Persaud, that delinquency would not be tolerated and that there would be no further extensions for the completion of the highway.

“You’re not going past April for this, y’all know that, right?” President Ali indicated.

In September 2022, some $11.8 billion in contracts were signed for the construction of the Schoonord-to-Crane four-lane highway – a project that is part of a much larger initiative to establish a secondary road link to Parika, East Bank Essequibo (EBE).

The works included two roundabouts, 11 reinforced concrete box culverts, 36 pre-stressed bridges, and road signage and markings. The project was awarded to eight contractors – VR Construction Inc, Avinash Contracting & Scrap Metal Inc, L-Heureuse Construction and Services Inc, GuyAmerica Construction Inc, AJM Enterprise, Vals Construction, Puran Bros Disposal Inc, and JS Guyana Inc.

Works ongoing on the Schoonord-to-Crane Highway

All contractors were required to finish their respective projects by October 25, 2023. However, after massive delays, they were given an extension.

During Saturday’s site visit, the Guyanese Leader told the project engineer to ensure that liquidated damages are sought from the contractors over the extension given.

“That’s the contractor’s obligation [for the extensions given] …Y’all gotta make sure you charge for liquidated damages. There is no excuse. So, from day one as soon as [the contract] expires, I want liquidated damages,” the President declared.

The Head of State underscored the need for the timely completion of the project and encouraged contractors to make use of the favourable weather conditions. As such, he instructed that the contractors work 24 hours daily to ensure the timely completion of the project.

“You got to work 24 hours every day. In the bid, they were expected to work 24 hours… So, you gotta get them on the ground,” the Head of State directed.

This four-lane highway from Schoonord to Crane will be a modern road with features that will allow for easy and free flow of traffic at both ends.

This corridor is one of the major transformative projects being undertaken in Region Three and will be connected, at Schoonord, to the new bridge across the Demerara River that is also currently under construction. With the highway to be eventually extended all the way to Parika, it will open up new lands for housing and commercial developments in the region as well.

In Budget 2024, Government earmarked $9 billion to advance works on the Schoonord-to-Crane highway.

President Ali’s site visit on Saturday comes on the heels of him also recently inspecting ongoing works at two major road projects in Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica) – the Ogle-to-Eccles Four-lane Highway and the Diamond-to-Buzz Bee Dam expansion.