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$43 Million for Road Rehabilitation Project from Soufriere - Vieux Fort

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Contact: John Emmanuel

Wednesday, July 10, 2002 – Construction work on the south west coast road stretching from Soufriere to Black Bay in Vieux Fort has started. On Tuesday, July 9, 2002 Prime Minister Honourable Dr. Kenny Anthony along with other government officials and representatives of the main contracting firm, Ireland-based Lagan Holdings, took part in a sod turning ceremony that signalled the commencement of work on the first phase of this major Roads Development Programme (RDP).

Under phases one and two of the programme 28 kilometres of road are to be rehabilitated, widened and reinforced. The over EC$43 million initiative is being funded by the regional lending institution, the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), and is expected to run for 18 months. Minister for Communications, Works, Transport and Pubic Utilities Honourable Felix Finisterre says when completed, the project will go a long way in improving driving conditions, thereby reducing travel time and vehicle maintenance cost.

“In terms of local economic impact, the construction of 35,000 meters of concrete stone-lined masonry drains, 19 boxed culverts, 1,600 meters of concrete pipe culverts and some 20,000 cubic meters of stone-reinforced concrete and gabion works is expected to give rise to at least 250 jobs by way of sub-contracts for masons, labourers and the like. The nature of the work calls for extensive use of heavy equipment and trucks for which drivers will be required. The huge amount of aggregate and other building materials which are required will definitely provide opportunities for local suppliers,” said Finisterre.

When the third phase of the programme gets underway at a later date, over 117 kilometres of primary and secondary roads on the island will be upgraded to excellent condition in the hope of bringing significant economic and social returns. Prime Minister Anthony says the timing of the multi-million dollars project is opportune and represents a major plus is government’s attempts at jump-starting the local economy on a path of positive growth.

“I believe that we have touched bottom and we are now beginning to see the first little signs of a potential economic recovery and this project is key to that recovery. Not only will it release several million dollars in the southern economy, but crucially, it represents a significant public sector investment and if we turn from negative growth to positive growth as I expect will happen by the end of the year, this project will be a key element in that process,” said Dr. Anthony.

If all goes according to plan the rehabilitated road is to be completed by January of 2004. In the mean time, residents in the southern portion of the island are being asked to brace themselves for increased noise, dust and some measure of discomfort as major road rehabilitation work progresses. And, according to Prime Minister Anthony, when the dust settles, not only will there be a better road on the south west coast, but better economic times for the country as well.


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