West Coast Demerara Road Project Nearing Completion

The US$44M road project for the rehabilitation of 30.7km of the road from Hydronie to Vreed-en-Hoop, West Coast Demerara is in its final stages of completion, with minor works left to be done by International Standard-certified Jamaican Construction Company Surrey Paving and Aggregate (SPA) Co. Ltd. and BK International.

This is according to Danian Douglas of SPA, who is a Project Manager for the joint venture on the fourth road project being executed by the two companies. SPA, Douglas said, is the lead contractor in the joint venture project.

Douglas explained that all major works have been completed on the two-way highway.
In fact, the Project Manager revealed that the road project will wrap up on March 20, 2018 – after facing extended utilities relocation delays – and has not exceeded its budget. He further explained that small areas of patching to side roads, removal of construction debris, the erection of road safety signs and road markings are outstanding in villages such as De Willem, Vreed-en-Hoop and other isolated areas along the project corridor.

The contract for the project was signed by the then PPP/C government and commenced in January 2015 with completion in three years’ time.  It was funded by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) with counterpart funding from the Government of Guyana.
An asphalt plant valued at US$850,000, with funding from the joint venture partners, was a major part of the project’s mobilization. That plant, which was installed in December 2015 at Boerasirie, West Coast Demerara and commissioned in February 2016, has a production rate of 160 tons of asphalt per hour and produced in excess of 80,000 tons to pave the road.

The asphalt plant was sourced in India, and is said to be the first of its kind in Guyana, and is a pollution deterrent. The road project, Douglas explained, did not only cater for road expansion, but also for the construction of new reinforced concrete drains along various sections of the corridors, the construction of a new bridge, repairs to bridges/culverts, thermoplastic road markings, erection of road safety signs and guardrails, clearing and maintenance of culverts, and construction of sidewalks, among others.

Speaking with Kaieteur News, Douglas disclosed that Surrey Paving and Aggregate Co. Ltd. had main responsibilities for project management and quality control and that the joint venture received adequate support from its partner, BK International, as it relates to equipment resource, knowledge of the construction industry and dealing with local staff issues. Douglas further disclosed that the project received “practical completion” in December 2017, and at that time, only minor works were left to be carried out.
According to Douglas, utilities from the Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI) and the Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company (GT&T), in most cases, hampered the free flow of work. Hence the project was unable to meet it's January 2018 completion deadline. As a result, an extension up to this month end was approved. The main interference from the utility companies was fibre optic cables and distribution water pipe mains, he noted. Apart from these, inclement weather cause some delay in the project being completed on time.
“We also had weather challenges, we had environmental challenges, and we had social issues relating to traffic management,” said Douglas, adding that, problems relating to the environment were resolved through consultations with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and residents.

One of the major problems Douglas highlighted was the emission of dust from construction machinery.
He added, “We had to mitigate and control dust emitting from construction machinery. We liaised with the EPA for help. We had community meetings and one-on-one meetings with the residents.”
Providing maintenance and repairs to any infrastructure is vital for extending its lifespan. And with that being said, SPA and its joint venture partner BK International will provide the necessary repairs and maintenance to the thoroughfare as part of a one-year defect liability period.

This fourth road project between SPA and BK International provided employment for many locals, with 80% of its administrative staff being from Guyana. It also provided work for some 25 local sub-contractors.
In fact, all of the carpenters, masons, truck drivers and flag persons were from Guyana.  The local sub-contractors, under the management of the joint venture, provided services such as drain cleaning, drainage construction, and excavator operations. Majority of the equipment like excavators, back holes and trucks were also sourced locally, according to Douglas.
The Project Manager added that specialized asphalt equipment, along with staff for the road paving crew, had to be imported and supplemented by the local partner. As it relates to the asphalt plant, this also provided job opportunities for locals and has roughly about seven local staffers that were trained by an Indian national who was responsible for training staff for the joint venture.
SPA aims at maintaining its presence in Guyana and has since set up a local office registered temporarily at Leonora, West Coast Demerara. Douglas emphasized, “We (SPA) will have a presence here (in Guyana).We intend on working with the various ministries and private firms on other projects.”

The quality assurance and management staff were brought in by SPA as to extend the company’s quality of work as mandatory and audited through its ISO 9001:2015 certification.

Surrey Paving and Aggregate Co. Ltd. is a relatively large English speaking Caribbean Civil and Construction Engineering and Construction firm that has carried out a number of successful projects in the region.
Douglas pointed out that SPA with its head office in Kingston, Jamaica, also has operations in St. Lucia, Antigua and St. Kitts and Nevis, and its objective is to employ as many locals as possible.

Contributed by:Feona Morrison-Kaieteur News