By SANCHESKA BROWN
Tribune Staff Reporter
A DISGRUNTLED worker destroyed more than 7,000 feet of asphalt on John F Kennedy Drive, doing more than $1 million worth of damage.
Police say it happened between 8:30pm and 9pm on Friday in the area east of West Ridge Estates.
According to sources, the culprit stole a tractor and began digging up the road in a “zig-zag” fashion so the road could not be “patched” but had to be entirely redone.
Police say they have no one in custody at this time, but The Tribune understands an employee of Knowles Construction, the sub-contractor for the project, was being questioned.
Sources say the workers were complaining that they had not been paid for “quite some time”.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Works, Philip “Brave” Davis said the damage has delayed the project for a few weeks. He also said the contractor will likely have insurance to cover the cost.
“I think the contractor will have some sort of insurance for this type of thing, so the cost will be covered.
“As it stands, the police are investigating the matter. We think it is a criminal act and when the police have completed their investigations, they will give their findings to the contractor and then they will engage the insurance company and it will go from there,” he said.
“This incident, unfortunately has thrown the project back a couple of weeks. We expected to be done by the end of August, but now we have to resurface the entire northern lane so we are looking at September or October.”
Mr Davis said he heard “rumblings” that some of the workers from Knowles Construction might have been unhappy, but “nothing that would justify this type of act.” However , he said, as police are still investigating, he cannot say if late payments was the reason for the vandalism.”
Police are asking members of the public who might have seen something Friday night or were in the area of John F Kennedy Drive to contact them immediately.
The damaged road is a part of the $70 million Airport Gateway Project that started in 2011.
The government signed a $67 million contract with China Construction America Incorporated for the construction of the project and the Bahamian construction company, Knowles Construction.
The project includes the construction of a dual carriageway along John F. Kennedy Drive; the rehabilitation of the existing carriageway for east-bound travel; construction of nine roundabouts; the underground installation of a 24-inch water main that will take water from the west to the east of New Providence; the underground installation of all electrical services and low voltage cables; the relocation of telecommunication and cable infrastructure; dense landscaping and the completion of ancillary work, including drainage, signage, street lights and accesses.
To facilitate the construction, the government borrowed nearly $58 million from the Export-Import Bank of China at a two per cent interest rate.
The project encompasses approximately 6.2 miles of road, running from Windsor Field Road to the new six-legged roundabout on John F. Kennedy Drive.
The project is expected to improve the capacity of the entrance road system to the airport, as there is limited traffic capacity going into the downtown area; to strengthen inter-island communication, access and improve the layout of road network design; to enhance the landscaping along the gateway of Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA), and to provide safe driving conditions where the alignment of the existing road is irregular.