…says work on access road should commence shortlyThe Timehri roundabout project, which has been featured prominently in the media last year after being flagged by the Audit Office of Guyana for construction delays, is nearing completion.The Timehri roundabout during its early stagesThis is according to Work Services Group (WSG) head Geoffrey Vaughn, who informed this publication in a recent interview that the project is not only nearing completion but work should also commence shortly on the access road component.“That is about 80 per cent completed,” Vaughn revealed when asked for an update on the project, adding that the contractor has been able to resolve the issues he encountered with utility infrastructure.“The access road, (the contract) should be awarded shortly. Work should commence either early in February or later down (in the year),” the Public Infrastructure Ministry Official added.In Auditor General Deodat Sharma’s 2017 report, it had been reported that the contractor was given advance payments totalling $30.8 million, with $628,568 being paid to the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) as withholding tax. The contractor, who was awarded the contract out of 11 bidders, was supposed to construct a single lane rural roundabout and bypass road.The AG had revealed that he examined payment vouchers, contract documents and even paid the site a physical visit a few months ago. Among his findings were that the works were incomplete and behind schedule.He had also found that while Gaico had mobilised on site, at the time only excavation and general earth work had started. And this was limited to two small sections of the existing roadway. The works were expected to be done at the existing two lane road coming from the Cheddi Jagan International Airport and the four lane highway.The AG had also revealed that the advance payment bond, meant to be a security in case the contractor defaulted after being paid up front, expired since December 4, 2017. As of August 2018, only 19.5 per cent of the advance payment had been recovered.In its response, the Public Infrastructure Ministry had explained that complications from removing utility connections in the area resulted in the delays on the project. The removal of these utilities, the Ministry had said, had cost over $8 million.Since that publication, Gaico Construction and General Services had come out to say that far from being responsible for delays to the Timehri roundabout project, the utility infrastructure impeded the project. However, the company is aiming to complete the project by this year end.During an interview with Guyana Times, Gaico’s Chief Executive Officer Komal Singh had noted that the state auditors did not take into account work done on the site in order to prepare for the project. According to the CEO, his company delivered approximately 2000 tons of crusher run within a week of the contract at a cost of almost $20 million.In addition, Singh said that Gaico demolished and rebuilt a fence; all part of preparatory work he said exceeded the mobilisation advances they received. He then alluded to the sub terrain lines and pipes the company encountered from utility companies like the Guyana Telephone and Telegraph (GTT).