November 26, 2007
Construction Manager Mr. Desmond Lewis of Surrey Paving and Aggregate Ltd., a Jamaican based company contracted to construct 8.5 kilometers of the Nevis Island Main Road from Gingerland to the St. James Anglican Church, disclosed that Nevisians were well positioned to receive a fully paved road well ahead of Christmas.
He made the announcement on Thursday November 22, 2007, during an interview with the Department of Information. He said the project was within the stipulated time of completion in spite of several setbacks encountered with utility relocation during the earlier part of the project.
“Our operation closes down after the 14 [December] until January so we have programmed to have completed all major works to include all paving [and] all drainage work by the 14. However, that is dependent on Zion Hill where there is still work being done with the utility companies especially the Water Department.“The guys are working very hard I know they are trying very hard”¦so we can proceed with the works. If there is no delay by that entity, than we should be able to close out that year by the 14th of December so people can go about their business on a full paved road from Gingerland to the St. James Anglican Church. What I can clearly tell you is that, the people of Nevis will have a wonderfully paved road from Gingerland all the way down and I am certain that would be Christmas for them,” he said.
In response to how far gone the project was, Mr. Lewis said overall it was between 80-90 percent completed from a paving prospective.
“Let us look at the areas that are completed in a holistic way. The project is about 80 to 90 percent completed overall. If we look at it from a paving prospective, we have paved the first 1.6 kilometers and we have paved the last 6.7 kilometers. What we have to complete the project is 1.2 kilometers of paving and that spans between the Hickmans crossing and the bottom of Zion, a place they call Blue Water,” he said.
With regard to the major changes done to realign the new road Mr. Lewis explained that the designs had always included major changes to the landscape. However, changes made to the three main ghauts along the route would accommodate the allotted speed limit.
“In terms of the design of the project, this design had started way back, we have not altered the design much, what we have done, because the initial alignment would take up quite a bit of property, we have modified the design a bit in terms of the areas. I know what most people are speaking about are the major ghauts Kit Ghaut, Business Ghaut and Maddens Ghaut, those three ghauts were always a part of the design, the alignments have not changed and that is how it has been constructed now.
“The entire roadway spanning from Gingerland to the St. James Anglican Church has been realigned. So in terms of those alignments we have changed all the major ghauts to ensure that we have smooth roadway. Because of our design methods and mechanisms, we have designed for a 60-70 kilometer per hour roadway, so we had to change the realignment in order to facilitate that speed limit,” he said.
Mr. Lewis also addressed the introduction of gabion baskets (wire baskets packed with stones) in Nevis, a widely used technology though new to the island, for retention purposes on the project. He explained that the retention method was used because of the type of ghauts and their elevation. “We want to ensure that water can filter through the baskets and it would not impede the stability of the road,” he said.
He said a hydraulic survey conducted by the company determined the volume of water collected in each ghaut over a 25 year storm.
“A 25 year storm is something that happens one in every 25 years so it is the heaviest storm you can think of within 25 years. So the calculations are done base on a one in 25 year storm. What it means that any structure that we have put in place it will be to ensure that if you have a one in 25-year storm, which would be a major storm, it has the capacity to deal with it.
“We are pretty confident about the ghauts, we are pretty confident about our design and we are pretty confident with our engineers that designed the project. We are happy and we can clearly tell the people of Nevis what they can look for is good proper drainage for the road,” he said.
Mr. Lewis noted too that the company would have the responsibility to maintain the road for up to one year after the project was handed over the Nevis Island Administration. He said that period was stipulated in the contract and once a practical completion certificate was received from the Administration, the maintenance period would kick in and any defects during that period would have to be rectified to specifications.
Notwithstanding, Mr. Lewis thanked the government and people of Nevis for their cooperation. He said the company was aware that persons had suffered setbacks in terms of their property and traversing the roads
“We are happy to say that we are pretty satisfied with the participation of the people of Nevis and we at Surrey Paving we are happy with our employees, we are happy with the general public, we are happy with the people of Nevis that help us where we are where this project is concerned because without the people the project would not be a success and we are happy that the people are happy,” he said.
Premier of Nevis Hon. Joseph Parry and Area Representative Mr. Patrice Nisbett broke ground for the commencement of the project on November 27, 2007, through a US$25 million loan facilitated by The Bank of Nevis.