Between Government House and Queen Elizabeth II Park, a new lane is being added next to the westbound lane of Waterfront Drive. Heading east, manhole covers (bottom left) present obstacles for cars to navigate. (Photo: Allison Vaughn)

The Public Works Department spent $180,743 on roadwork alongside the Queen Elizabeth II Park before workers discovered shallow utility lines and a high water table that have stalled the project, according to Communications and Works Minister Kye Rymer.

Of those funds, $135,523 went to “rebar, concrete, a mini excavator, supplemental labour through work orders, and five pallets of pavement bricks” to construct the 581 linear feet of sidewalk now bordering the park, Mr. Rymer said on March 5 in response to a question from opposition member Stacy Mather.

The rest of the money — $45,220 — went to preparatory works for the “third-lane project” on the other roadside of the sidewalk, which he said will result in a middle turn lane on Waterfront Drive.

This work included filling in the construction site to allow trucks to haul away debris, adjusting manhole covers to the finalroad height, and using a roller to compact the roadbase and subbase in preparation for fresh asphalt, according to Mr. Rymer (R-D5).

As the asphalt resurfacing process began, however, workers noticed that the area was “spongy” due to the high water table and heavy rains that fell before the roadworks commenced, he said.
Additionally, “shallow” utility lines in the area prevented sufficient base-aggregate compaction, according to the minister.

“As a result, the asphalt will have to be removed in order to mitigate against the sponginess and to ensure a stabilised concrete base before the placement of asphalt,” Mr. Rymer said.


After thanking the minister for his response, Mr. Mather (R-at large) pressed further.

“I’m trying to understand the purpose of spending just about $200,000 on this third lane that has been incomplete for a number of months, which is causing more harm than good to the motoring public of the territory,” Mr. Mather said. “When does [the minister] expect to have this project completed? Because it is just sitting there as an eyesore.”

Mr. Rymer replied that he is working with the PWD to procure the necessary rebar to stabilise the roadbase, but he did not provide a target completion date or explain how the department would work around the high water table.

Opposition member Melvin Turnbull (R-D2) then cut in to ask the minister when exactly workers discovered that the water table was too high to complete the roadworks. Mr. Rymer reiterated that both the water table issue and the shallow utility lines were discovered during the works.

Now, a redesign is needed to ensure stable traversal, he explained.

He did not respond when Mr. Mather asked if completing the project would take another $200,000.


Mr. Mather then continued his line of questioning on roadworks, asking about plans for the unpaved road on the north side of Anegada.

Mr. Rymer responded that Anegada is not included in the government’s broader planned 38 mile road resurfacing project because the sister island’s roads are to be resurfaced with concrete instead of asphalt.

Therefore, Mr. Rymer said, the estimated $420,000 needed for Anegada’s roadworks was requested to be included in the 2024 budget.

However, the minister said, those funds ultimately were not included.

Gov’t and private roads

Opposition member Myron Walwyn also asked Mr. Rymer to explain the difference between a government road and a private road.

Mr. Walwyn (R-D6) said he asked because some privately owned roads are used publicly but do not receive government funding.

“Private property owners have traditionally requested assistance from government,” Mr. Rymer responded. “However, Madam Speaker, it was during the [Commission of Inquiry] proceedings that it was concluded that public funds should not be used in this manner.”

The government defines any road built on crown land as public and any road built on land titled to a private entity as private, according to the minister.

In response, Mr. Walwyn argued that the definition of public and private roads should be reconsidered.

Mr. Rymer responded that a policy is in the works to address such concerns. The policy, he said, has been drafted and is in the comments stage.