The road between Hodges Creek and Paraquita Bay will get a much-needed facelift by late April after government awarded a $2.3 million contract to Northam Construction for road rehabilitation, officials said this week.
During a contract-signing ceremony livestreamed Tuesday afternoon on Facebook, Communications and Works Minister Kye Rymer said the government is committed to providing better roads to ensure the safety of motorists and pedestrians alike.
“Any major roadway development to be undertaken will incorporate the plans of the various utility companies and ensure that digging up after the roads are rehabilitated would be a rare occurrence,” Mr. Rymer said.
He promised that proper drainage will also be a critical part of all roadworks to come in the future.
Northam Construction, a Virgin Islands company, will build 3,818 feet of roadway using $2,386,015 of taxpayer money, officials said at the ceremony. Mr. Rymer added that the company was chosen through a “competitive and open” bidding process.
The work entails removing the existing roadway; constructing new culverts, box drains, short retaining walls, curb walls, and slipper drains; and constructing over 1,500 feet of sidewalk.
The contractor is also responsible for installing new water pipes and electrical conduits along the road, Mr. Rymer said.
The work is expected to be completed within six months.
At the signing, Premier Dr. Natalio “Sowande” Wheatley, who is the Seventh District representative, reiterated his government’s commitment to tackling long-standing road and sewerage issues across the territory.
“For many, many years, governments gone by have built roads with no drainage. We have long known that we should bury our electricity cables for disaster-resilience purposes. We have long known that we have needed to replace the old, dilapidated water pipes,” he said.
“But, of course, for many years those things have not been done, and that is why I’m grateful that I have a minister for communications and works who recognises the challenges and problems that we experience and who is determined enough to ensure that we get a fix for those challenges.”
Dr. Wheatley added that he was happy to provide the funding for the contracts as the minister of finance.
He also touted a “comprehensive road solution” in Fish Bay that was overseen by the Recovery and Development Agency in 2022 and has withstood copious rainfall since its completion.
“We believe in having proper drainage, well-engineered roads, properly surfaced roads. But of course, it’s going to take a massive, mammoth effort to continue this throughout the whole territory,” he said. “We will turn the situation around as it pertains to our roads.”
He also acknowledged recent efforts made to improve the sewerage system in the territory. Now that sewage lines have been laid in East End, the planned roadworks can commence, he added.
“After [the Hodges Creek roadworks] contract is completed, we will proceed immediately to having the Hodges Creek-to-Fat Hogs Bay road also done,” Dr. Wheatley said. “The minister for communications and works has a comprehensive plan for roads throughout the territory, and he’s just waiting on financing to be able to execute those plans.”
The premier added that his government plans to borrow money to “ensure that we provide the public with the roads that they deserve.”
More details, he added, will emerge during his upcoming budget speech.
Lordon Hamlet, managing director of Northam Construction, thanked the government for the opportunity to undertake the project.
“I also want to say that we are eager and ready to start this project and deliver on time and on budget,” he said.