While road works progress at the airport access roads and roundabout Bill Simmons Construction and Heavy Equipment Co. Ltd. has faced several obstacles including weather interruptions and a delay in material shipment from Grand Bahama.
A shipment of aggregate, which is required to continue the paving of Don Mackay Blvd to south of SC Bootle Hwy, was expected last week but has been delayed in Freeport and is now expected to arrive later this week. They expect to continue paving of Don Mackay Blvd. next week.
In the meantime progress will continue at the airport roundabout and approaches including the preparation of Don Mackay for paving.
Jeffrey Plant, Project Engineer for Bill Simmons Company, speaking on the work at the roundabout, explained that “we have raised the southern half by just over a foot and the reason we did that is to improve the drainage off the roundabout and to reduce the possibility of flooding particularly at the south side of the roundabout where it’s very marshy.”
He said that they raised about 200 feet of the approach into the roundabout to give it a gentle slope and raised the crown (which is the center part of the road) so that water flows in both directions at about a two percent grade from the center of the road.
“So anytime it rains the water will run off the road to the sides or to the center of the roundabout,” he said. “And by raising the road we have more storage capacity [for rain water] inside the roundabout for the water to percolate down into the water table – the idea is to keep the road high and dry.”
He said the entrance road to the airport terminal has been finished – about 1000 feet to its final grade –and they have another 50 feet that they will put a second layer on when putting the final wearing course on the roundabout.
“What we are doing now on the roundabout is the regulating course,” Mr. Plant explained. “It’s about an inch to inch-and-a-half of asphalt and it basically forms the base, but we will put the final wearing course on and you will end up with about two to two-and-a-half inches of asphalt.”
He said their goal is to get all the regulating course on the roundabout, which will define the final grades and the drainage, completed making the surface drivable.
He said that they will leave the regulating surface of the roundabout for about two weeks (to fully set) and “we would really like to pave around the roundabout in one day, both sides, and the best way to do that is on a Sunday.” He indicated that they were looking at next September 15 or possibly September 22 to do it.
“At the moment we have a lot of joints in the roundabout because we are doing it in sections while accommodating traffic and dealing with challenges posed by the weather. The objective is to have as few joints as possible on the finish surface.” He said.
The plan next week is to continue down Don MacKay Blvd. towards town and eventually get to the traffic light, depending on the weather and the shipment of materials.