Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Is there light at the end of this tunnel?

GIBRALTAR (GibChronicle) Chief Minister Peter Caruana has declared that the Government cannot say when the contractor involved in the tunnel project underneath the runway – OHL – will be resuming works “in a meaningful way,” or when these will be completed. In reply to several questions from Opposition spokesman for Traffic Gilbert Licudi, Mr Caruana stated that works were halted back in January 2011 because the contractor said it was “reviewing and revising its method of construction.” It is understood oil contamination of the subsoil has become a significant obstacle to the works and the contractor is currently seeking engineering solutions to proceed.>>>

Mr Caruana further revealed that the contractual relationship with the engineering company carrying out the works is at present “in a critical phase.”

“I do not wish to say any more at this time,” he emphasised, appealing to the Leader of the Opposition’s defence of the interests of Gibraltar and also to his legal instinct, to accept this.

Mr Picardo admitted Mr Caruana’s remarks and said he would not press him further on the basis of what he had explained.

The Chief Minister said construction of the tunnel walls was completed in December 2010 with most of the work activities undertaken during the night when the airfield is closed. The next phase of the works comprises the construction of the reinforced concrete tunnel roof slab.

It also emerged that the contractor has installed a water de-contamination plant on site in order to safely treat and dispose of the ground water. The ground water requires pumping out in order to allow the tunnel excavation works to proceed under dry conditions.

In reply to Mr Licudi’s questions, Mr Caruana declared that a claim for additional costs in relation to the tunnel works as a result of interference to the work from a communications antenna in the proximity of the works that resulted in delay, has been accepted by the project engineer.

“The exact amount has not been agreed with the contractor, but ranges between £165,000 and £300,000.”

No comments: