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

More than four hours into last week’s House of Assembly meeting, Opposition Leader Ronnie Skelton asked his second question to Communications and Works Minister Kye Rymer.

“Would the [minister] give this honourable House a report on the progress being made on road improvements? I know you just gave a long statement to preempt this question, so he needs to answer it again,” Mr. Skelton said during the Feb. 20 meeting.

Mr. Rymer responded initially by rattling off his ministry’s current plans for road projects.

“The Public Works Department have produced numerous designs to address much-needed roadworks and rehabilitation across the territory,” Mr. Rymer said. “Capital roadworks to be executed by the ministry include Paraquita Bay roadworks, Fort Hill roadworks, Long Trench roadworks, Butu Mountain roadworks, Shepherd Hill roadworks, Sabbath Hill roadworks, Joes Hill roadworks, Diamond Estate to Enis Adams Primary School roadworks.”

For such works, Mr. Rymer added, “additional funding” is needed.

Work under way

But he also mentioned a project that is currently under way in East End under a $2.38 million contract signed with Northam Construction Ltd. last October to rebuild 3,818 feet of road from Hodges Creek to Paraquita Bay.

When the contract was signed, officials said the project was expected to be completed within six months.

Last week in the HOA, Mr. Rymer also said funding is now being sourced to address “phase two” of the roadworks in East End.


Mr. Skelton, however, pushed for more information and commitment.

“I probably missed it. Did [you] mention Sea Cows [Bay]?” Mr. Skelton asked. “Because the Sea Cows Bay Road is in bad shape and needs some attention. I didn’t hear it. I missed it.”

Mr. Rymer smiled and replied, “We intend to address all roads. All roads. We’re working on those that are funded right now.”

Mr. Skelton then asked about the source of future funding.

“If it’s a supplemental [budget addition], the minister of finance will decide on when we will bring that to the House,” Mr. Rymer said. “We have already submitted a comprehensive list of all the roadworks in the territory. But based on the budgetary allotment, we can only do based on what was given to us.”

38-mile project

In a statement delivered before the question-and-answer session, Mr. Rymer also mentioned the government’s plan for a 38-mile road reconstruction project on Tortola, Virgin Gorda, and Jost Van Dyke.

However, he didn’t announce any decision on the way forward with the project.

Despite three deadline extensions in a tender process launched last October, only one company bid for the project earlier this month: the St. Kitts-based Surrey Paving and Aggregate Company (Caribbean) Limited, which quoted a price of $37,354,503.55.

Last week, Mr. Rymer said, “We look forward to the conclusion of the tender within a few short months, where a contractor will be selected for undertaking this critical project.”

He didn’t provide further details on the planned selection process.