by Zena Henry
Minister of Public Infrastructure, David Patterson says an amicable solution has been reached with China Harbour Engineering Corporation (CHEC) over the Cheddi Jagan International Airport expansion project that will not see the project exceeding the initially proposed US$150 million.
Patterson, during a press conference Saturday August 8 at the Ministry’s headquarters, said that last Tuesday Cabinet provided provisional approval to have the project continue. During the week-long discussion between the government, particularly Public Infrastructure Ministry and CHEC executives, the company had requested an additional US$47 million, claiming that they did not have certain information for the project and that intended changes would increase project cost.
However, the government was able to have this money cut in half, while caps were placed on other additional increases. “It (US$47m) has been capped… it cannot exceed more than $23.7m. That is the exact cap. This cap includes all claims to date, all variations, and all design phases now and in future.”
Under this revised scope of work, Patterson said that the extension project would now continue. The extension of the 7,500 foot-long runway to 10,800 feet, refurbishment of terminal building, expansion of the car park, relocation of about 12 homes at Timehri North in close proximity to the runway, the provision of navigational equipment, the removal of vendors among other items that make up the entire project.
That project, Patterson continued, was expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2017. The revised project would also see a commercial mall being constructed close to the airport where vendors currently operating on the street corner would have first preference of taking up spots to conduct their businesses.
There had been talk about the project’s feasibility study under the old administration. When questioned, Patterson said that the feasibility study should have been done by the former government, but was unable to say what became of that.
Meanwhile, unfavourable soil type and other technical issues forced engineers to take the runway expansion to both northern and southern ends of the location although the 3,500 feet should have headed north only.
The minister said he would be meeting with residents soon to tell them about the new developments.