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Damaged Philip Goldson Highway will take approximately six months to fix; policymakers must learn from mistakes, says Minister Julius Espat

Posted: Monday, February 28, 2022. 9:01 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: Minister of Infrastructure Development and Housing, Julius Espat, says the Government must learn from its prior mistakes that led to the collapse of the retaining wall protecting the Philip Goldson Highway at Mile 7 between the Haulover Bridge and Vista del Mar in December.

“At times, we as leaders, sometimes, we don’t want to listen to professionals and we have to learn from those mistakes, and we have to now listen to the professionals, and then make an analysis and make a decision on that,” he told reporters, adding that several administrations are guilty of making such mistakes, but they can look forward and be reminded that they are spending the people’s money and to be efficient and equitable in that spending and distribution.

“You’re looking at a retaining wall that has to be built to certain specifications, those materials are not available in country. The ones that are available have to be built, they have to be prefabricated, and then installed; there is a process for everything…so we had to go to the House of Representatives to get the expenditure approved; that was done. We have now gone through the process of having the Contractor General review the submissions that we made and he just sent a letter last week approving that. Since then, we have signed a contract with the person that is going to build it,” Espat detailed.

According to Channel 7 News, the contract for the repair project was signed with M&M Engineering consultants on February 14 and will run for 25 weeks, which is just short of half a year. It is valued at 1.4 million dollars and the new revetment wall will be made of concrete.

Espat pointed out that an overpass might have been a good idea, but at the time the road was being rebuilt in 2009, the materials chosen ultimately surpassed their lifespan, but were not the right choice, and the fault lies with the policymakers who made the decision, not the engineers.

“I looked up the files and I saw the recommendations made, and I saw that the engineers made the proper recommendations and that was not taken into account. So, I can’t blame the engineers; I blame the policymakers,” Espat said.


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