The arrival of the cargo vessel carrying heavy equipment for construction of the International Airport signals the beginning of a new phase in the airports construction.
It’s finally happening, after much anticipation, the ship, coming from China, arrived on Dominica’s shores on Friday the third of March 2023 carrying a significant amount of heavy equipment, critical for the execution of the airport development plan.
Following its arrival on Friday, the ship was able to dock at the Wood Bridge Bay port on Saturday 4th March 2023 to facilitate the offloading of the equipment which will be initially stored at the old Public Works site near the wood bridge bay port.
A representative of MMCE was present for the arrival of the equipment.MMCE are the developers of this airport project.
“We have been working on the engineering part of the drawings, engineering designs, schematic designs, and detail designs for all disciplines with our designers in the states; in conjunction with the rest of the team in different parts of the world. At the same time, we have been working on site with regards to the soil tests which are very sophisticated procedures,” Mr. Cal Murad, Project Manager of MMCE stated.
Mr. Murad explained that MMCE has been conducting extensive testing necessary for such a project.
“We got all the equipment required to do the soil testing and studying of the site levels etc., and we have established a special laboratory for all these tests and results just to make it simple. For every boreholes, we have about twenty-six different tests of soil that are done before we make a decision of how to handle that part of the land,” he explained.
CEO of the Airport Development Company, Mr. Samuel Johnson stated that the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) was concluded last year. A geo-tech study is currently ongoing.
“Where you need to ensure that the quality of the soil material for cutting and for filling is suitable, and if it is not suitable, what adjustments or what treatments can be done with it. As we all know that part of the island is a lot of clay and that brings its own challenges but we have been working with the lab to determine exact elasticity, moisture content and what sort of treatments will be done to ensure slope stabilization. So that is still ongoing,” Mr. Johnson explained.
Mr Johnson says they are halfway through the geo tech study. Excavation is major part of the project and MMCE had been anticipating the arrival of the equipment which will accelerate its work.
“This is a good day that will expedite our work, it will expedite the construction, it will expedite the excavation, and the backfilling. So we have today about a hundred and thirty two pieces of equipment, in addition to forty four containers full of building materials in addition to eleven tonnes of steel rebars,” Murad stated.
The magnitude of this project is captured in the size of the impressive fleet of heavy equipment which arrived on island. Regarding the arrival of the equipment , Mr. Murad says this is just the first batch and there is more to come. He anticipates that they will continue to receive containers as the project progresses.
Acting Project Manager of China-Railway or CR-5 Ji’an Zhou also believes the arrival of this first consignment of equipment will help expedite the airport construction project.
“Actually CR-5 is a global company which has undertaken projects across Asia, Africa, and the Cribbean Islands. CR-5 have built airports, bridges, railways, buildings, and even harbors so it is a very organized company and is qualified for the construction of the airprt,” Ji’an Zhou explained.
Mister Benoit Bardouille, who is the Chairman of the Airport Development Committee, stated that the arrival of the equipment brings us to a very important juncture in the life of the construction of the International Airport. Mr. Bardouille added that the economic impact of the airport project will be significant.
“It’s here for all to see. The equipment is here and will temporarily be stored ta the old public works area as well as on the port, and we are going to have them moved to Wesley in a short space of time. This is going to spur economic activity for Dominica because in the construction sector, it is actually going to bolster the issue of employment. Several local people have been employed and are being employed. And I dare say that is going to help us from the economic standpoint not only during construction but even after completion the airport will continue to provide jobs of all classes to the Dominican population,” Mr. Bardouille added.