Stalled airport road project cause for concern in Senate
Some senators were not very happy to see that the Fono has returned for the 2nd regulation session, yet nothing much has been done to move the airport road improvement project forward.
It was during yesterday’s Senate session that Sen. Tuiasina S. Esera raised the road issue, saying that he is thankful to the Lolo Administration for improvements done to many roads on island that were in very bad condition.
However, he said he was very disappointed that the airport road remains a major problem for motorists with no improvements visible at all, despite a multi-million dollar contract already awarded to Whitehorn Construction to fix this heavily traveled road.
He said it was very sad to see the latest group of visitors to the territory, the Troy Polamalu delegation, encounter the terrible airport road conditions. He asked the Senate Public Works Committee, chaired by Sen. Alo Fa’auuga, to look into the possibility of a hearing to call in officials of Department of Public Works and Whitehorn to provide an update and discuss the reason for this long delay.
Sen. Laolagi F.S. Vaeao agreed with the concern but suggested that the Senate Public Works Committee first write to DPW for an explanation and maybe give them 30-days to provide an official response to the Senate.
Thereafter, if there is no reply, then call a committee hearing to find out more details, said Laolagi, who also pointed out that there is a serious problem with this road that needs to be addressed as soon as possible.
Alo responded that he was surprised to return to the territory Monday night following an off island trip to find that not much has been done so far on this road and agreed to calling a committee hearing, which will be scheduled soon, where officials of Whitehorn and DPW will be called to testify.
Samoa News has provided several updates on this road project, on hold due to a problem with Whitehorn’s performance bond, which was found to be invalid. The bond issue was discussed during a meeting June 26 between the governor and other ASG officials, including DPW.
A news release from the Governor’s Office following the meeting said it was at Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga’s direction, after a suggestion from Federal Highway Administration personnel that Whitehorn be given an additional ten business days to come up with a valid bond.
“We should give them (Whitehorn) every chance to perform. They won the original bid, Federal Highways approved the original contract, and a lot of local jobs are at stake if they don’t continue the work,” Lolo said in the release.
The 10-day extension expires tomorrow, July 11. (See Samoa News story on June 27 for more details).