Airport Road back on track
It’s official, the Federal Highways has approved the request by ASG’s Department of Public Works to the US Department of Transportation regarding their recommendation to negotiate with McConnell Dowell on the Airport Road Project, according to a statement issued by the Governor’s office yesterday.
The statement says McConnell Dowell was the second lowest bidder on the Airport Road project, after a contract of the original lowest bidder, Whitehorn, had been terminated.
The move to terminate the contract came after the government found out the bonds, which had been issued for Whitehorn, were fake or bogus.
The issue of the bonds came to light when an official with Chubb Group of Insurance Companies contacted the local DPW and AG’s offices, informing them that the agent or broker through which Whitehorn Construction Company had posted their bond did not work for Chubb. This was according to a government source who wished to remain anonymous as he was not authorized to speak on the matter. The bond amount in question was to equal the amount of the contract, which was $7.9 million.
According to the statement from the Governor’s office, Abraham Wong, Manager for the Hawai’i Federal-Aid Division wrote to Director of Public Works noting that from “news reports, meetings with Governor Lolo Moliga, dialogue with DPW, correspondence, and project site inspections, the FHWA recognizes the need to promptly resume progress with construction.”
“Wong went on to say the FHWA also recognizes that it is cost effective to the American Samoa Government and its economy to restore this major route so that the traveling public can transverse this dilapidated roadway in a safe and efficient manner.”
Governor Lolo expressed his appreciation to the FHWA and Wong for their efforts and for the continued support of the DPW.
“We have wanted to get this project moving and I thank Mr. Wong and the entire Hawaii FHWA team for their fine work in getting us to the point where we can move forward,” said Governor Lolo.
According to the statement issued, Director of Public Works Faleosina Voigt said she is pleased with this development, and “it’s our hope to work through the negotiation and contract details as soon as we practically can, in order to get this project back on line.”
The governor commended the contributions of Director Voigt, as well as Chief Procurement Officer Tiaotalaga John Kruse and Assistant Attorney General Vincent Kruse in moving this matter along.
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