A drain on Joes Hill is clogged with debris from upstream, causing more cautious drivers to drive in the opposing lane. (Photo: Rushton Skinner)

While government continues to consider the lone bid of about $37 million for 38 miles of roadwork across the territory, $1.8 million has been allocated to carry out remedial works on some of the most “deplorable” streets, according to Communications and Works Minister Kye Rymer.

Many of the stopgap repairs will focus on areas damaged by “frequent water pipe breakage” at Little Dix Hill and between the Diamond Estate pump station and Enis Adams Primary School, Mr. Rymer said during a press conference last Thursday.

The $1.8 million, he added, will cover the cost of asphalt and labour for road resurfacing, as well as about $400,000 to repair breakages with new plastic polyethylene pipes and fittings, according to the minister. He added that he expects works to commence in the “near future” after contracts have been officially approved.

“The contracts for these improvements are currently undergoing thorough vetting,” Mr. Rymer said.

He did not say how many parties are involved or if the contracts were tendered.

“We assure the public that this allocation of funds is just the beginning of our comprehensive efforts to rehabilitate our road network,” Mr. Rymer said. “The tender for the 38 miles is currently being evaluated, and we will continue to work diligently to secure the additional resources.”

Tender history

Government issued a tender for the 38-mile project last October.

The original deadline for bid submissions was Nov. 18, but it was delayed until Jan. 30 and only drew one submission: a $37,354,503.55 offer from the St. Kitts-based Surrey Paving and Aggregate Company (Caribbean) Limited.

Asked last Thursday if government has the money to pay for this project, Mr. Rymer declined to offer any update on the tender approval process or how government aims to source the funding.

“I thank the premier for making $1.8 million available so that we can do some immediate work in terms of the 38 miles of road,” Mr. Rymer said, adding, “I think they’re doing the assessment of the tender right now, and I think they’ll be working to secure the funding.”

Pressed for finer financial details, Mr. Rymer said he was not the person to ask.

“The premier, he would be in a better position to say where that is coming from,” he said.

In response, Premier Dr. Natalio “Sowande” Wheatley, who also attended the press conference, referenced his budget address in November, when he committed to securing bank loans for infrastructural restoration.

“The banks would notice a request for proposal coming out shortly — probably within the next two, three weeks — for the banks to put forward what their terms would be for that particular loan,” Dr. Wheatley said. “And then of course we’ll go from there in terms of the process of securing that loan. I did say in the budget speech that we’ll be [borrowing] up to $100 million. And a major part of that money will be dedicated to fixing our infrastructural needs.”