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Road-paving projects to be completed by end of year

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Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch, the Minister of Public Works, provided details of his ministry’s budget today (File photograph by Akil Simmons)

A major repaving project designed to improve the state of Bermuda’s roads is set to be completed by the end of the year, the Minister of Public Works has said.

Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch announced the news at a press conference detailing his ministry’s budget of $75.3 million for the year ahead. It represents an increase of 6 per cent on last year.

Colonel Burch said that work will continue on the paving of Harrington Sound Road in Smith’s as well as other areas of “significant deterioration”.

He said: “We will identify these areas across the island and patch those to improve the overall driving experience until we can do a full reinstatement.

“I have given my list which covers from Southampton East to Hamilton and back on all three roads. We have invited input from those who are complaining the most.

”I am keenly aware of motorists’ concerns who are sometimes frustrated by lane closures and delays in their daily commutes.

“We are still a year out from it all concluding. This investment will go a long way to ensuring that the state of our roads will be strengthened for years to come and the reliability of the electricity supply is enhanced.

“It will probably take us the whole year. We are likely to have challenges with aggregate, which most contractors are now importing, and so we are looking at doing the same thing.”

Colonel Burch said it costs about $200,000 per mile to repave roads.

It was revealed that $13 million has been set aside for ministry HQ funding to fill unfunded posts, salary upgrades, ministry-level training and increased use of the health examinations and inspections. Colonel Burch said that the appointments covered every area of the ministry.

A total of $44.4 million has been allocated towards capital funding. The lion’s share of capital spend will be on further investment in the Tynes Bay Waste-to-Energy Facility. A stabilisation programme costing $22 million was recently approved to take place at the site before the commencement of major refurbishment.

Colonel Burch said: “It will probably be not OK for the next two years — it is a 27-year-old plant that has not been subjected to regular maintenance for the entire 27 years. Every government can take a portion of the blame for that. We are taking steps to ensure that the plant continues to be operational.

“We had a paper approved in Cabinet today … so that we can come up with the best option about how we fund it.”

Full maintenance of the plant is expected to cost $150 million

Colonel Burch added: “It is going a lot smoother than we anticipated. We are facing significant supply-chain issues. Because the plant is so old and we have a long experience with the original suppliers of the plant, there is an excellent working relationship.”

The minister also confirmed that the Government will be funding the running of the Agricultural Exhibition this year to the tune of $100,000.

He said: “It is well under way. All the participants are keen to get back on the ground. It will not be a full show because we are starting late but it will be similar to what we have had in the past.”

It will come out of the parks department budget of $10 million — an increase of $300,000 on last year.

Water project to be finished by July

The Minister of Public Works announced that the East End Water and Waste Water Project is expected to be completed in the second quarter of this year.

Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch said: “This has been a massive undertaking with so many facets. It is expected to be completed within the original budget of $30 million.

“When completed, the upgrades will supply the East End with ample potable water for generations to come.

“This will also usher in the new waste collection system and a new waste treatment system.”

A total of $3 million has been set aside for major buildings — the same amount as last year. This will include improvements at Global House and the Government Administration Building in Pembroke.

There is $5.14 million for highways — an increase of $398,00 that Colonel Burch said “is primarily due to the re-establishing of a third road cleaning crew to tackle roadside vegetation clearing”.

Street lights will be modernised through the use of LED lighting for which $560,000 has been set aside.

Picnic tables and benches will be placed at public parks and beaches and CCTV cameras will be installed at Horseshoe Beach to “bolster security” at the tourist hotspot.

An additional $400,000 will go towards the installation of solar panels on several government buildings.

Capital funding will also be allocated towards restoration works at forts and historical sites.

Flooding at Pembroke Canal during periods of heavy rain will also be addressed with an investment of $240,000.

Other funds have been allocated for acquiring new machinery equipment including trucks and $450,000 for electric vehicles.

Colonel Burch added that Bermuda Housing Corporation refurbishments are “well under way”. A total of $21.6 million to refurbish 137 units is being released in several tranches.

“In this current budget they will get about $4.6 million,” Colonel Burch said. “The project is pressing on. The first renovated house has been completed and the tenants are in.”

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Published February 22, 2023 at 7:55 am (Updated February 22, 2023 at 11:01 am)

Road-paving projects to be completed by end of year

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