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2005-12-01 15:33:33

New Government Hotmix Machine

The current machine has chronic malfunctions and as a result has been producing lower grades of asphalt needed to construct roads.

The government has secured a $1.6 million asphalt making machine for its plant at Arawak Cay as the operation is expected to help contain the costs for an $80 million road improvement project.

The Minister of Works and Utilities Bradley Roberts made the announcement yesterday in the House of Assembly disclosing that the plant is expected to arrive within 30 days and will be relocated to the industrial park sector on Firetrail Road.

The current machine has chronic malfunctions and as a result has been producing lower grades of asphalt needed to construct roads.

He explained that the plant on order has a particular mechanism that is intended to eliminate any atmospheric contamination.

"The end result [will be] that the public will no longer see and have to be afraid of possible pollution from the white cloud of steam hovering over the existing Astec plant which, in contrast to the new plant, operates on a "wet scrubber" system which emits fine dust particles into the atmosphere," he noted.

Last year, the Ministry of Health moved to shut down the plant temporarily as the equipment was producing worrying environmental pollutants.

The new plant is designed to produce in the area of 90 to 200 tons of asphalt per hour under ideal conditions.

"Most importantly, however, the acquisition of the new plant is most timely for the resumption and completion of the new providence road improvement project commencing in January,2006," he said, "therefore, I look forward with great anticipation to the launch of a new invigorated road paving program that will provide concrete help in restoring the New Providence road network to a state of excellence to the extent of available financial resources."

Mr. Roberts was updating the status of the New Providence Road Improvement Project that was originally funded to a great extent by the Inter American Development Bank, but it was eventually segmented into seven different components.

The entire project is expected to cost between $75 and $80 million, according to Minister Roberts.

The former Harrold Road corridor was just recently completed and the next project will involve a quarter mile of Baillou Hill Road between the renamed Tonique Williams Darling Highway and Robinson Road.

The joint venture company of Bethell's Trucking and Heavy Equipment and Bahamas Hot Mix has been granted the $3.3 million project. The company has also secured a special $1million bonus contingent upon the work being completed within five months.

The road improvements for Baillou Hill Road, Market Street and East Street on the one hand and Robinson Road, Prince Charles Drive and Marathon and Wulff Roads on the other is scheduled to go out for international bidding in April 2006.

A third contract will involve work on the Bamboo Boulevard and East Street junction, the Milo Butler Highway extension to Carmichael Road and the Abundant Life Road, which will be tendered locally. That contract is expected to be secured by March of next year.

There are additional plans to work on the Bethel Avenue extension from John F. Kennedy Drive to West Bay St and the new Cordeaux Avenue link between Baillou Hill road and Thompson Boulevard.

Also, Bethel Avenue will be realigned as well as the new Oakes Field connector from Yellow Elder Way to the new Bethel Avenue.

In the near future workmen will also revamp the road network to accommodate the Baha Mar redevelopment on Cable Beach.

The minister also expressed apologies for the inconveniences that will be caused as a result of the roadworks saying: "I fully recognize, however, that concomitant with the implementation of these projects is the cost to our motoring public as well as to the businesses that may be impacted."

He also vowed to give attention to the Family Island roads.

Already, work is progressing on roads in Eleuthera, South North and Central Andros and parts of Grand Bahama.

Contracts are expected to be awarded shortly for West Grand Bahama, Acklins and Ragged Island, Abaco and Cat Island.

By: Tameka Lundy, The Bahama Journal

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