[Bahamas Information Services – Kathryn Campbell] EXUMA, The Bahamas – With the signing of contracts for a new dock, repair of a bridge and roads, the island of Exuma is poised for an infrastructure boost.

The Bahamas Government has signed contracts with G and L Construction and Rolle’s Heavy Equipment to construct a new dock in George Town, repair the ferry dock bridge that connects Little and Great Exuma and repair roads and parking areas between George Town dock and Queen’s Highway.

Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Hubert Ingraham headed the list of Government dignitaries at the signing ceremony. Also attending was the Hon. Neko Grant, Minister of Public Works and Transport; the Hon. Hubert Minnis, Health Minister; the Hon. Phenton Neymour, Environment Minister of State; and Anthony Moss, Exuma MP. Permanent Secretaries Camille Johnson and Colin Higgs and Local Government leaders were also present.

Minister Grant said the initial contract to build the George Town dock with the Government and R and F McKenzie Construction was terminated in October 2011. Therefore the second lowest bidder G and L Construction was engaged for the project.

The contract for $986,837.75 includes limited demolition to facilitate construction, new sheet piles and concrete surface approach, installation of 60 ton bollards and lighting, construction of sidewalks and dredging of 10 feet of seabed. Construction is expected to be completed in 24 weeks.

“It is evident that the repairs are urgently needed in light of the importance of this dock to the economy of this island and the government is committed to concluding this project as soon as possible,” Minister Grant said.

A structural assessment of the Ferry Dock Bridge undertaken by Caribbean Coastal Services revealed that its steel and concrete components are in poor condition.

The contract awarded to G and L Construction for $763,610.80 includes repair of steel/concrete composite piles, repair of cracks at deck and bridge, repair of expansion joints, cleaning and painting of drawbridge and repair of road approaches. One hundred and eighty days is the projected time for repair of this structure that was constructed in 1966 and measures 593 feet in length.

Mr. Grant said in addition to the dock’s parking lot, and other parking areas, the road between the George Town Dock and Queen’s Highway is in dire need of repair.

A contract for $149,275 was awarded to Rolle’s Heavy Equipment to repair and pave the road leading from the dock, Queen’s Highway and parking areas in the vicinity of the dock and the Administration Building. The work should be finished by the first week of July 2012.

He congratulated G and L Construction and Rolle’s Heavy Equipment on the award of the contracts and said it is expected that the work will be completed in a timely fashion and within budget.

Mr. Grant acknowledged Cabinet colleagues, staff of the Ministry of Finance, Local Government and Caribbean Coastal Services Ltd. for their contributions to these projects. He also recognised the efforts of engineers Robert Mouzas, Kirk Bullard and Bahiyyah Hepburn.

“On completion these projects will undoubtedly meet existing and projected demands resulting from the ongoing development of the Exumas,” he said.