Friday, April 19, 2024

Project won’t hit taxpayers


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THE TRANSFORMATION OF the 44-kilometre ABC Highway has begun.
And it is not costing Barbadian taxpayers a cent, the Ministry of Transport says.
Yesterday, work on the first of the four-foot signs that will dot every kilometre on the highway, starting with the ten-kilometre stretch between Graeme Hall and the Grantley Adams International Airport in Christ Church.
A team of at least ten gardeners and landscapers descended on the stretch from Graeme Hall to Kendal Hill where the two signs were erected, mowing and trimming the grass on the verges.
The plan is to erect ten signs at a cost of $950 each on either side of this roadway before moving on from Kendal Hill to the airport. After that they will be working from Graeme Hall to Warrens, another ten-kilometre distance.
The work is all part of the Adopt-A-KM Community Highway Programme, and yesterday project coordinator Andrew Clarke said the response from corporate Barbados had been very inspiring.
“The first companies out of the gates are LIME and Beacon Insurance,” said Clarke, adding that other companies such as Carters, Super Centre, DaCosta Mannings and Rubis had given commitments, while others were in the process of making the decision.
He said the project had enough companies on board to start the maintenance programme.
“We will begin with the five-kilometre stretch from Graeme Hall roundabout to the roundabout before Balls Plantation,” said Clarke, noting that as more companies committed, more teams of gardeners and landscapers would be brought into the highway maintenance programme.
And here, they’re looking at engaging one team for every five kilometres, but no firm decision has been made on that as yet.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Transport and Works sought to clear the air on the Adopt-A-KM programme.
In a statement, it said it was a private sector initiative sanctioned by the Government that would assist in the maintenance of the highway, at the same time employing over 500 people.
“This project is being carried out at no cost to the Government of Barbados,” it stated.
The release said that in April 2012 Mark Maloney, managing director of Preconco Ltd, had presented a proposal to the ministry to maintain the verges on the highway from the airport to St Lucy’s Parish Church.
It stated that cleaning and maintaining these 44 kilometres since the opening of the highway had been a tremendous strain on the ministry’s human, capital and financial resources.
“The company . . . indicated it would also erect a backlit sign along each kilometre of road, as well as supply a speed monitor which will allow motorists to see their travel speed and adjust accordingly.
    “The ministry . . . placed the proposal from Preconco Ltd before Cabinet which gave its approval subject to a number of considerations, one of which was that all advertisements must be approved by the Chief Town Planner,” the statement added.
    The ministry said it was therefore an “erroneous impression” that it was paying Preconco Ltd to execute the Adopt-A-KM project. (SP)


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