Sheriff Street/Mandela Avenue road project to be accelerated

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Works being conducted on Mandela Avenue back in January 2019 (Adrian Narine photo)

THE Public Infrastructure Ministry, having expressed displeasure with the rate at which the Sheriff Street/Mandela Avenue road expansion project is progressing, has announced that the contracted company has now committed to investing additional resources toward the speeding up of the project.

This was relayed by Public Infrastructure Minister, David Patterson, on Wednesday. He said the company, Sinohydro Corporation Limited, is expected to produce a revised programme in this regard by April 5, 2019.

The US$31M Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)-funded Sheriff Street/Mandela Avenue road expansion project was contracted to the company in December 2017 and works commenced in August 2018, following surveying works.

The project is intended to improve road safety; simplify traffic movements; provide adequate drainage for the road corridor and interdependent communities; and extend the design life of the pavement and all roadway structures to a minimum of 20 years from the expected end of construction.

Drainage works are now being completed in some locations along Mandela Avenue, which includes the construction of the culverts.
However, Minister Patterson stated that his ministry, displeased with the speed at which the project is progressing, sought an explanation from the company recently.

“The progress has been slow and somewhat disappointing. Last week, my ministry wrote to the principals of the company, Sinohydro, and asked them to send a senior representative down to us to explain the slothful progress because I am very mindful that the May/June rains [are approaching],” Patterson said.

As a result, the company sent its senior vice-president last Friday, who participated in an all-day meeting with representatives of the Ministries of Public Infrastructure, Finance and Foreign Affairs; the IDB; and the Chinese Embassy.

“We had frank discussions and they have committed to, by Friday, present us with a revised programme on how they intend to put additional resources to ensure that they can speed up the work and we’ve committed to reviewing that and, in three days’ time [after receipt of the programme], respond to them… Sinohydro has committed to putting additional resources in crew, money, to boost the work as fast as possible,” Patterson said.

This stretch of road will see the construction of a two-lane roadway with a concrete median portioning the two lanes along Sheriff Street, while Mandela Avenue will involve expansion of the roadway from a two-lane road to a four-lane road with a central concrete median and shared-use paths.

A roundabout will be constructed at the junction of Sheriff Street and David Street/Railway Embankment Road, while the completed roadway will also be outfitted with the requisite road safety amenities, including sidewalks, bicycle lanes and adequate parking spaces.
Bridges will also be upgraded; while in the vicinity of East Ruimveldt and North Ruimveldt Secondary schools, there will be a pedestrian overpass.