Nassau, Bahamas – Bahamian firms are already benefiting from the airport redevelopment project, Prime Minister, the Rt Hon Hubert A Ingraham, confirmed during groundbreaking ceremony, July 9, at the Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA)

More than $10 million has been spent locally on various aspects of the design, engineering and consultation for the project, he said.

And, more than $14.8 million in construction contracts have been awarded to Bahamian firms.

They include Alexiou & Associates, George V. Cox & Company, Graphite Engineering, Engineering Solutions & Consulting, Caribbean Civil Group, Engineering & Technical Services, Construction Cost Engineering, DHP Associates, Certified Testing Laboratories International, SEV Group, and Pinder’s Customs Brokerage.

Mr Ingraham said the terminal’s general contractor, Ledco, a Canadian firm, is planning for 73% of its labor requirements to be filled through local contractors.

Bahamian firms awarded major contracts for the first stage of the project include Reliable Fencing, Bahamas Hot Mix, Basden Elevators, Woslee Construction, Sentinel Drilling and Water Works, TMC Engineering Ltd.

“I am advised that a significant amount of the work awarded to international firms will be completed by Bahamian sub-contractors and labor,” he said.

Approximately 40 contracts are scheduled to be tendered in coming months, including sub-contracts to the terminal’s general contractor and direct contracts with NAD.

“Plans call for this first phase of the redevelopment project to open for passengers bound for US ports, beginning in the first quarter of 2011,” Mr Ingraham said.

Immediately thereafter, work is expected to begin on converting the existing US departure terminal into the new international terminal.

“Construction of the redevelopment of (LPIA) is expected to last for four years,” he said. “At the height of construction, approximately 400 persons will be engaged on the job site.

“Upon completion (LPIA) will provide the infrastructure our nation needs to prosper.”

Mr Ingraham said he is satisfied that when the new US terminal opens, it will be “one of the best and most modern airport facilities in this part of the world.

“Finally, after having for far too long ranked among the least efficient and least customer friendly airports in our region, the (LPIA) will become a source of national pride.”

Projects being carried out at LPIA along with works being undertaken at the cruise port in Nassau Harbor to ensure its capacity to receive Genesis class cruise ships, would position the Bahamian economy to take advantage of the upturn in the world economy, he explained.

“It is a manifestation of my Government’s determination and commitment to investing in tourism, the major industry of our nation, and to modernizing and expanding our national infrastructure,” the Prime Minister said.

The Government is resurfacing Bay Street from Blake Road to Mackey Street, undertaking upgrades at traffic roundabouts, and installing curbing along roadsides, he added.

“Next year, we expect work to commence on a new two-lane highway from (LPIA) to the College of The Bahamas,” the Prime Minister revealed.

Construction of a new boardwalk along the downtown Nassau waterfront, extending from Prince George Wharf eastward to the second Paradise Island bridge is also planned following the transfer of commercial shipping from downtown Bay Street to Arawak Cay, Mr Ingraham said.

“Investment in public infrastructure is essential to the long term sustainable growth of the Bahamian economy in general and tourism in particular,” said Mr Ingraham.