Minister on Harbour Road land dispute: ‘Ask first, build later’
Roadworks on Harbour Road have at last finished after months of disruptions to road users.
Wayne Furbert, the acting public works minister, confirmed yesterday that completion of the project – which was over schedule and over budget – was “a milestone” for the Government.
He admitted that the Government should in future “ask first and build later” after work was held up because of a dispute with a resident.
But Mr Furbert was unable to say how much over budget the job had run.
Mr Furbert said: “Well, the full numbers are still being worked out on. There may be some cost overruns but we’re going to be getting our money from other parts of the budget that we may have some savings on. The final numbers have not been in place but we should be very close to it.”
He insisted that the overruns would not be significant.
Mr Furbert added: “As was previously stated, the adjustment to the budget for this project was funded by realising cost savings with the ministry’s budget.”
The work to repair a stretch of wall on Harbour Road between Highwood Lane and Lover’s Lane started in June and was scheduled for completion in early August at a cost of $250,000.
Mr Furbert also gave details about the land dispute that held up work.
He said: “Unfortunately, across the road there’s some other land and the Government engineer at the time did not know that that property belonged to that resident in that area.
“So we went in and had a talk with that individual and she was so kind and we agreed to have it worked on and that’s where we are right now. So we have worked on it and there we are.”
Mr Furbert said the property dispute had not added to the cost of the project.
He added: “There was no settlement cost. We just went in, did some changes to what we were working on and we were working on the wall, but there’s no settlement at all.”
Mr Furbert said: “We have learnt a lesson – ask first and build later.”
He added that the Covid-19 pandemic could have caused staff shortages and bad weather also added to delays.
He said: “I’m assuming some of the delays had to do with the weather and the pandemic and we we’re just trying to move traffic as fast and as much as possible.”
Mr Furbert thanked the public works team for their work to complete the project.
He said: “Some of these individuals worked in the cold and rain to ensure traffic flow during peak times.
“I was happy to join them sometimes to understand better how the traffic was moving so that we could make adjustments, which we did.
“My thanks also go out to our partners in the private sector and the area residents for their co-operative spirit in helping us to overcome initial challenges.”