Prime Minister Hon. Roosevelt Skerrit is hopeful that works on the Loubiere to Grand Bay road project can begin in the next few months.

This project is expected to upgrade a twenty kilometer corridor of road, which is the primary link between the capital Roseau and its sea port, and the southern communities of Bellevue Chopin, Pichelin, Grand bay, Bagatelle and Fond St. Jean.

The rehabilitation works will include the improvement and replacement of a number of structurally unsound bridges which are critical to the integrity of the road network, and will provide critical access to social and economic activity for these communities.

The works will also include drainage, slope stability, retaining walls, and improved road alignment for the increased safety of road users. There will also be the replacement of four existing bridges, the construction of one new bridge and the removal and construction of several culverts.

Prime Minister Skerrit explained that the project has been delayed as the bids from contractors have gone over budget.

 “This project is being financed with funds from the Government of the United Kingdom by way of a grant. Part of the funding is also a loan by the Government of Dominica from the Caribbean Development Bank. We went to tender the first time and the bids came back way higher than the funds that we available, we decided to split the project into two lots, lot one and lot two. The bids came back again way higher than the funds that we have,” the Honorable Prime Minister stated.

An alternative source of funds was pursued to expand the budget for the project.

 “I have since taken a decision in respect to additional funds and we have gotten the approval of the Caribbean Development Bank to go a particular route with the hope that the bids will come back at a rate that we can afford. One of the reasons why the bids are coming back so high, as far as I have been advised, is based on the designs of the road. The roads and the bridges have been exceptionally designed and the engineers, I have very great confidence in the British engineers based on our own experiences here with British engineers in the past,” said the Prime Minister.

Prime Minister Skerrit stated reviews of the bid document have been done, and they are nearing the end of finalizing negotiations before issuing a contract.

 “What we have done, we have also gotten Mr. Kendell Johnson who is one of the most experienced engineers in the country,  to review the bid document and also the designs, and I believe we are close to finalizing an approach which we believe will achieve our desired objective of bringing the cost down to certainly it will be more than what we have and we will be prepared to borrow an additional sum to do this road, but in the next couple weeks or so I believe all of those administrative negotiations, processes could come to an end and we can go to the step of issuing a contract and to commence work and so forth,” the PM explained.

He assured that this project remains a priority for the Government of Dominica.

“The reason why we have not started and we could have started since 2021 for example, but we have had to go back through the whole processes and so forth. It is a road that remains a priority for us and we have some funds. We have had to reallocate funds from another project so that we can increase how much we have at our disposal to effect the granting of a contract and commencing construction on the road. All things considered if we are to get the negotiations down to the sum that we believe we can afford, we can see work started in the next couple months or so,” the Prime Minister added.

The road will be constructed to the international standards of a three star rating. This means the safety features on the road will be taken into immense consideration.