Sheriff-Mandela Road Project deadline now October 31

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The Sheriff Street-Mandela Avenue Road Expansion Project – which was expected to be completed by August 2021 – is now set to be finished by October 31, 2021.

This was confirmed by Minister within the Ministry of Public Works Deodat Indar who told INews that there are a number of factors which contributed to the delay in the project.

The project, which covers approximately seven kilometres of road between Sheriff Street and Mandela Avenue, involves the relocation of utilities; the installation of lane and shoulder improvements; placement of sidewalks and paved shoulders; traffic signals, traffic signs, streetlights, drainage; a pedestrian overhead walkway; culverts, bridges, and a roundabout.

The project is being funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) to the tune of US$31 million and was originally contracted to Sinohydro, which has since subcontracted companies to complete the works.

The project was launched in 2018 but faced many setbacks under the former APNU+AFC administration.

Public Works Minister Juan Edghill had explained that when the PPP/C took office in August 2020, there was no work being done due to the Covid-19 pandemic and because of non-compliance with environmental standards which resulted in the IDB being forced to cease disbursements to the project.

The project was eventually restarted in September 2020 and the Dr Irfaan Ali-led administration had anticipated an August 4, 2021 completion.

However, this deadline now seems unattainable due to a number of factors – the main reason being the inclement weather.

According to Minister Indar, another reason for the delay involves ongoing discussions on the drain along “Back Road”. He explained that the government wants it to be a concrete drain but the contract design specifies it as a “earthen drain”.

“That’s what we’re discussing how we gonna deal with that,” Indar explained. “Remember it’s a highway so we don’t want it to have earthen drain…we don’t want that.”

Though he could not say definitively, the Minister surmised that if the drain will be constructed in concrete, there might be an increase in the overall project cost.