GEORGE NEWS - "Farcical, like the old Carry On movies," is how George ratepayer Kingston Cuthbert describes the Caledon Street rebuilding project.
The road works have been dragging on for more than a year and are nine months over the originally planned completion date. Cuthbert wrote to the George Herald after the latest notification from the George Municipality about yet another partial road closure for a failed asphalt layer to be replaced.
Work on the street started in June last year and was set for completion four months down the line in September.
Alas, several sections of the street failed engineers' tests and had to be redone - in certain sections more than once. Residents, especially bed and breakfast establishments, have considered taking legal action due to loss of income and damage to property.
Cuthbert says, "After all the asphalt failures there is, yet again, another asphalt failure. Can they not assess the suitability of the asphalt before they lay it?"
Another ratepayer, Anthony Breakey, said the work is being paid for with taxpayers' hard-earned money and demanded to know how the contractor made it past the engineering department to get appointed.
"Any other contractor would have been thrown off the site after their second or third mess-up, but these guys are still there after numerous mess-ups."
Due process followed
According to Civil Engineering Services director Reginald Wesso, the contractor (WTW) was appointed in line with statutory procurement processes. These require that contractors be registered with the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) with the appropriate grading according to the type and size of projects they may undertake. "The supply chain management policy is specific that only the bid adjudication committee (BAC) may award a bid to a service provider for bids less than R10-million and after considering the procurement information recommendations of the bid evaluation committee (BEC). The BAC comments on recommendations by the BEC for bids higher than R10-million and the accounting offices make the award for such bids - as in this case."
He confirmed that the contract is still within the planned budget, but the contractor is charged penalties for the time overrun. "Apart from legitimate contractual claims, the contractor is not entitled to claim any additional costs, and the cost of reworking or replacing material that does not comply with the project specifications is borne by the contractor."
Wesso said there "have been challenges" with some of the premix placed. "Premix is based on very specific designs with the type and amount of binder content, the material grading, the percentage of voids and compaction effort applied. Regular control testing is done to ensure that the final results comply with the original design. Certain deviations in the final premix placed may result in a section of road being rejected and having to be redone. As this is a bus route that will carry heavy axle loads, certain deviations are more critical than others. The quality of the material used in the premix has not been problematic."
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