Bridges, roads, buildings and airports throughout The Bahamas are among the 260 infrastructure projects that the Ministry of Public Works has on its schedule for the year. The Hon. Desmond Bannister, Minister, highlighted some of them during his recent contribution to the 2019-2020 Budget Debate in the House of Assembly.
Plans are in the making to construct a new airport in North Eleuthera. Minister Bannister told parliamentarians that a modern airport, identical to one to be built in Exuma, is planned and will take several years.
“When aircraft movements in the Commonwealth of The Bahamas are considered, the North Eleuthera airport ranks in the top three, with Marsh Harbour and Exuma whether we consider domestic or international travel. The physical plant is entirely inadequate. Seating is on the outside. In the morning and in the evening the mosquitoes are out in full force, and when it rains passengers get wet. Moreover the runway is entirely inadequate,” said Mr. Bannister.
A dock will be constructed in Harbour Island in the amount of $4,702,221.53. Minister Bannister announced Cabinet’s approval to build the dock.
“The dock in Harbour Island is the lifeblood of that community, but for years has been inadequate in size and configuration, and remains in poor condition,” he said. The area surrounding the dock will also be dredged and Customs area refurbished.
Minister Bannister told Parliamentarians that he is aware of the “immense” need for roadworks in Eleuthera. He said preliminary work has been carried out on 38 miles of road from Governor’s Harbour to the North Eleuthera Airport at a cost of $472,196.03.
A contract for $2,803,102.40 for the replacement of Russell Island Bridge that connects Spanish Wells with Russell Island will soon be signed. Minister Bannister said the bridge has been in “bad shape” for a long time and will be replaced with a two lane bridge that is 162 feet long and 18 feet wide.
The Most Hon. Dr. Hubert Minnis, Prime Minister, is expected to visit Abaco soon to sign a $3,863,665.44 contract to repair damage to Queen’s Highway in Hope town.
“Hurricane Floyd caused damage to the edge of the Queens Highway, thereby severely eroding the beach and the road. This is a project that is critical to the future of Hope Town,” said Minister Bannister.”
Construction on the Staniard Creek Bridge is scheduled to begin this year. This bridge is the first of three major bridges in Andros that must be replaced. The Public Works’ Minister informed Parliamentarians that the engineering work has been completed. He said excavation work will also be done on the creek to rescue it from its current state of stagnation and restore healthy tidal flow.
The search for consultancies for the design of the long-awaited Long Island Airport will soon begin.
“By the end of 2019, Long Islanders and visitors alike will have access to two of the most beautiful ecological sites that I have ever seen in my life. And then we will start to develop their Airport,” said Minister Bannister.
The amount of $1,346,474.41 to construct, create parking and pave the Monument Road in Long Island has been approved.
“The monument road is three miles of torturous driving over rocks and through bush to get to the most beautiful vista in the Bahamas, and perhaps in the world. The view from the Columbus monument is incomparable,” said Mr. Bannister.
Furthermore, construction of a new bridge in Newton’s Cay is scheduled to begin in July. Cabinet has allocated $548,263.36 to carry out the work.
Moreover, he noted that the damaged classrooms at North Andros High School will be rebuilt. “The recent devastating fire at the North Andros High School will not be permitted to cripple educational opportunities. As I speak, officers of the Ministry of Public Works are on the ground in North Andros assessing the challenges. We will scope the work and rebuild the damaged classrooms so that the educational environment is better than it ever was,” said Minister Bannister.
By Kathryn Campbell, BIS
The Hon. K. Peter Turnquest.
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