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(SNO) — Work is expected to begin in the second quarter of 2020 on the $115-million Millennium Highway and West Coast Roads Upgrading Project and government officials said it will bring economic activities and reduce accidents when completed.
A formal signing of the consultancy agreement and contract design for the project took place on Wednesday.
Infrastructure Minister, Stephenson King, said there will be a reduction of accidents after the road, which has been dubbed ‘The Roller Coaster Road,’ is finished.
“Over the years, many road users have come complain of the deteriorating conditions which probably have brought much grief to many families in this country,” he said at the signing ceremony. “The sad and unfortunate events of fatal crashes are well recorded. Also the Department of Infrastructure is inundated with a myriad of complaints to what some refer to as the deplorable conditions on the roller coaster road. This will be no more.”
Prime Minister Allen Chastanet is confident the project will generate economic activity on the west coast and the island in general.
He gave an example of visitors to Saint Lucia getting off a cruise ship and driving down the road to Soufriere and taking a boat back up or going down by road and returning by road.
“And when you combine that with people who are actually driving down on an excursion, and clearly if persons are renting a car and going on tours, the likelihood is that they are going to go down to Marigot and Anse La Raye and Canaries and eventually into Soufriere,” he explained. “So it is the taxi drivers who are immediately making the benefit of that road.”
He said there will be a growth of vendors along the road when it is finished.
The job goes to FDL Consult Inc in cooperation with international development consultancy company IMT Worldwide after the government issued tender requests in 2018 and 16 local and international companies responded.
Product Manager at FDL, Pewlin Fontenard, said her company is aware of the many challenges faced by the project.
“We are aware and sensitized towards issues of the informal economic sector, mobility challenges, gender disparity and climate change among others,” she stated. “Our design proposal will incorporate both adaptation and mitigation strategies to minimize the adverse or unwanted impacts. We also note that most of the route has limited or no provisions for pedestrians and non motorized traffic, our solutions will give due regards to such interventions.”
The project will be administered by the Caribbean Development Bank and is being funded by a UK Caribbean infrastructure partnership fund through a technical assistance grant.