Theft hampering road works on two major highways

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The destruction of cones and other signs, placed on the roads to warn motorists of impending danger, and theft of batteries used to operate heavy duty equipment are severely hampering rehabilitation of two of the country’s major causeways – the Sir George Walter Highway and the Friars Hill main road.
Public Relations Officer for the Project Implementation Management Unit (PIMU) in the Ministry of Works and Housing Shaw Thomas told OBSERVER media yesterday, that this is the latest challenge that engineers are now forced to deal with. He said it is quite disappointing and contractors and engineers are at their wit’s end.
 “We just don’t know what else to do,” Thomas said, adding that, “It is a construction site, it is a project being funded by the United Kingdom and the government of Antigua and Barbuda. We have people who are trying their best to make the project work and complete it on time, but when you have small setbacks like these…you can imagine the frustration,” Thomas said.
He said most of the stolen items are only discovered when workmen return to the respective work sites, ready to begin a new day.
Thomas said that sometimes the heavy equipment are left on site overnight to prevent people from falling into a manhole in excavated areas or as a warning to motorist not to enter.
“We want to make an appeal to persons, just treat it as your own. It is our project, it is for us, it is by us and let us respect the fact that anything that you do, that negatively impact the project, will negatively impact Antigua and Barbuda,” the PRO said.
Thomas explained that members of the Royal Police Force of Antigua and Barbuda are a part of a traffic management committee, one of the stakeholder groups which are working along with the PIMU, and those officers are adamant that people caught stealing or damaging road signs will be dealt with to the fullest extent of the law.
When asked about employing security officers to monitor the various construction sites, the PRO hinted that this would be a very expensive venture.
The road project is being made possible through grant funding of 13.9 million pounds from the United Kingdom Caribbean Infrastructure Partnership Fund (U.K.C.I.F.). Oversight is being provided by the Department for International Development and the grant funding is being administered by the Caribbean Development Bank.
The government of Antigua and Barbuda has also committed funds towards the project.

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