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The Government signed a $4.5 million contract with Bill Simmons Construction & Heavy Equipment co. Monday, February 25 to resurface the dangerous six mile stretch of Ernest Dean Highway south of the Airport Roundabout. It was also noted that bids have been accepted, and being evaluated, to begin work repairing the dangerous Dune Road in Elbow Cay. Back Row: Admin. Donald Rolle, Wynsome Ferguson, George Cornish, Roscoe Thompson and Admin. Terrece Bootle-Laing. Middle Row: Josh Smith, Admin. Maxine Duncombe, Kino Simmons and Montez Williams. Front Row: DPW Antoinette Thompson, Central GB MP Iram Lewis, Minister Hon. Desmond Banister, Ruby Simmons and Central/South Abaco MP James Albury.

Contract Signed For Highway Repairs

The Government officially signed a $4.5 million contract with Bill Simmons Construction & Heavy Equipment co. Monday, February 25 to resurface the dangerous six mile stretch of Ernest Dean Highway south of the Airport Roundabout.

During the ceremony for the contract signing Minister of Works Desmond Bannister said The Cabinet approved the issuance of a contract to Bill Simmons Construction in the sum of $4,554,771.20 inclusive of 12% VAT to carry out repairs to approximately 6 miles of the Ernest Dean Highway.

“My Ministry will continue to monitor other areas on the highway, and as needed will seek to replace portions of it. In this respect, I ask that all of you stay in close contact with MP James Albury, and keep him apprised of any challenges that you become aware of. I must also ask you to be patient during this process. Doing the job properly takes time,” he said.

Mr. Bannister noted that the Ernest Dean Highway – a 44 mile stretch of road starting at the Marsh Harbour Airport Roundabout and leading all the way to Sandy Point – is a critical lifeline to the residents of South Abaco.

He said that the current road was constructed over 25 years ago and was done in the typical form with 6 inches of limerock quarry base and a pearock and sand seal wearing course, but has since exceeded its design life, and though most of it is still in a fair condition there is a section of about six miles in length that is in a very poor state and in need of urgent repairs.

“This was forcefully brought to the attention of my Ministry through the actions my very good friend Mr. James Albury, M.P., and supported by concerned citizens. The particularly damaged section of the road runs from the Marsh Harbour Airport Roundabout to the junction with the road which leads to the Sanitary landfill site. This section of road is quite busy and takes the daily traffic and heavy trucks going to the landfill site or transporting quarry from the nearby fill sites or the only Asphalt Plant on the island,” he added.

He said that his technical officers indicated that the road has excessive “undulation and corrugation which is attributable to a failure of the subbase.”

He said that the defects have “severely impacted the structural integrity of the road and is negatively impacting the functionality of the pavement resulting in a very poor quality of ride, as you all know. I’m concerned about safety; and I urge road users to stay within the speed limit.”

Mr. Bannister said that the report recommended that the road be rehabilitated to include removal of the failed base layers and replacing it with suitable material and then placing a 8” limerock base and, in keeping with the Ministry’s policy, pave with a 1.5” layer of hot mix asphalt.

An extensive scope of works was developed as follows:

• Verge Clearance 21,120sqyd

• Scarification of Existing road surface 84,480sqyd

• Excavate and backfill of base (Provisional) 28,160sqyd

• 6” Lime rock base 105,600sqyd

• Prime, and lay Hot Mix Asphalt 1.5” thick 84,480sqyd

• Installation of striping, post signage and other road markings 13,000lnft

He said that bids were received from six pre-qualified contractors who were invited to submit tenders by December 11th, 2018 on the prepared scope of works. “So you see that we have moved quickly on this.”

He said that all of the bidding contractors are very experienced in roadworks and are either currently working for the Government or have completed work in recent times. The bidding contractors were Apex Pavers, Knowles Construction & Development Co. Ltd, Bill Simmons Construction & heavy Equipment Co., Waugh Construction Bahamas Ltd, Bethel’s Trucking & Heavy Equipment Co. Ltd. and Bahamas Hotmix Company.

He said “I am grateful that D.P.W Melanie Roach and P.S Antoinette Thompson worked so diligently to expedite the process. Bill Simmons Construction submitted the lowest bid. The bid was very competitive when compared to the in-house cost estimate. Bill Simmons Construction is currently working in Abaco on other Government projects and is the only contractor with an operational Hot Mix Asphalt plant currently on the Island of Abaco.”

He added that Bill Simmons Construction is a family owned company, and remarked that “I’m grateful that the matriarch of the Simmons family Mrs. Ruby Marquerita Simmons is here with us today.

“Mrs. Simmons was born in Marsh Harbour, and tells me that the company is taking special pride in this job. So much so that she brought three of her sons and one of her grandsons with her today.”

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