The main roadway to the eastern end of Jost Van Dyke is closed to most vehicular traffic, but work is under way to reopen it as soon as possible, Transportation, Works and Utilities Minister Kye Rymer said Tuesday in the House of Assembly.
“Both road projects to address undermining on the road bridging Great Harbour to the eastern end of Jost Van Dyke have started,” Mr. Rymer said while giving a brief update to a longer statement he delivered last Thursday in the HOA. “Over the past weekend, One Love Construction Company started works, and now due to the heavy rains on the existing undermining, the road is now unsafe for vehicular traffic.”
Mr. Rymer said the ministry is working with taxi companies on the island to establish a temporary carpool system to enable residents and visitors to continue navigating the area. The road will be closed to general traffic until further notice, he said.
Mr. Rymer also gave updates last Thursday on other roadwork planned around the territory.
Construction is nearing completion on three major roads on Tortola, and it is set to get underway in several other areas there and on the sister islands, Mr. Rymer said.
Work on Sheppards Hill Road is 90 percent complete, though crews need to work on additional designs for a smaller section of the road, Mr. Rymer said in the HOA.
He also said efforts to restore Hannah Hill Road should be completed in the coming weeks, and the upper McNamara bypass road is now open to vehicular traffic following the completion of road rehabilitation and drainage work.
Meanwhile, he added, the Public Works Department will take the lead in running a facility that will be used for future road repairs.
“A brand-new environmentally friendly asphalt plant was purchased, and as part of the purchase, trained technicians will provide coaching for our PWD team whose job it is to operate the plant,” he said.
Mr. Rymer did not offer a timeline for when the plant will be operational.
Until roadworks are completed in full, some of the territory’s worst roads will get a temporary fix, according to the minister.
Mr. Rymer said crews will be sealing the roads with tack oil to provide some stability until government can get the funding for more extensive rebuilding.
These roads include the Fort Burt area to McNamara junction, Parham Town to Paraquita Bay, Little Apple Bay, Myers toward Soldier Hill, and Windy Hill Road on Tortola.
Additionally, several road restoration projects will be funded by the Caribbean Development Bank Recovery and Rehabilitation Loan and are in the tender stage, according to the minister. These areas, he said, include Fish Bay, Great Mountain, Hope Hill, Little Dix Bay, Ballast Bay, Long Trench and Lower Fort Hill.
However, he added, the CDB’s requirements for accessing the loan funding are complex and time-consuming.
“These projects are now at the tender stage through the services of the consultant hired through the loan agreement,” he explained. “The consultant has currently completed his assessments and designs, and the projects listed are available through a national competitive bidding process. The works of the consultant prior to reaching this juncture is quite detailed and I would seek to outline the key stages undertaken prior to the bids being available for tender.”
The consultant’s work, Mr. Rymer said, includes the development of an “inception report” with preliminary-site and vulnerability assessments. Then preliminary site designs will be developed and reviewed by the project team, he added.
“The final stage is the complete construction details and designs, which include the bill of quantities, tender documents and the environmental management plan,” he said.
After the consultant completes these documents, they will be sent to the CDB for approval, according to the minister.
“Once approval is obtained from CDB, the government’s Procurement Unit via the Ministry of Finance will finalise the tender documents and the tenders are advertised for a minimum of six weeks,” Mr. Rymer said. “Clearly this is a tedious and detailed process.”
Meanwhile, seven other projects recently received funding from the government’s local development funds, Mr. Rymer said.
PWD designers are working on plans to restore roads at Windy Hill, Joes Hill, Pockwood Pond and Zion Hill, according to the minister.
Construction crews are also assessing upper Fort Hill to determine how to restore the road and fix the drainage issues; beginning work on road surfacing and drainage issues at Cooten Bay Road; and figuring out the cost of fixing the road and drains at Georges Northside.
Mr. Rymer said the department anticipates crews will start working on these locally funded projects in the second quarter of this year.
Jost Van Dyke
Crews also will address undermining at three main areas on Jost Van Dyke: two on the eastern main road and one on the southern side.
“I am pleased to report that of the two areas on the eastern end, one has already started,” Mr. Rymer said last Thursday. “The other areas are on the heels of mobilisation whereas the contracts are already signed.”
Regarding Doghole Road, Mr. Rymer said crews completed design and costing work but were discussing land encroachment issues with nearby landowners and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Labour.
VG and Anegada
On Virgin Gorda, crews repaired a damaged section of Nail Bay Road, and the overall rehabilitation is nearly done, according to the minister.
“Once again the road is fully opened and motorists are asked to adhere to all traffic signs,” he said.
He also said employees are designing the bypass road from Leverick Bay to Gun Greek, and they would start construction on the project this year.
On Anegada, crews are doing “some remedial works” bridging the main road works to the Cow Wreck area, and Mr. Rymer said he planned to give an update about more extensive work in the area to “bring some relief to the residents and visitors of the sister island.”
Secondary road projects on the island are getting under way as well, he added.