Stadium more or less ready for Super Eight matches
By Miranda La Rose
March 10, 2007
The Guyana National Stad-ium at Providence is basically ready for the Super Eight world cup matches at month end and the eight-acre parking lot would be completed in time.
Although the works on the extension of the four-lane highway from the Demerara Harbour Bridge to the stadium would not be completed in time for Cricket World Cup, it would be serviceable. Completion is now scheduled for mid-May.
Meanwhile, technical consultant at the stadium, Walter Willis foresees no problems for persons living on the East Bank Demerara commuting to and from their homes. However, the Police Traffic Department would be issuing guidelines and some form of identification to be on vehicles for access to some areas close to the stadium. This process is being worked out between the Guyana Local Organising Committee of the ICC CWC 2007 and the police.
Asked about the status of the four-lane road from the Demerara Harbour Bridge to the stadium and at what stage of construction it would be for the Cricket World Cup matches to be held locally, Willis told the media yesterday that the Providence Bridge would be completed and the verges cleared of debris by March 22 for the ICC CWC West Indies 2007 Inc. to take over in full the stadium venue for the matches.
Asked why the work was so much behind schedule, Willis, the Ministry of Public Works project engineer, said that initially the extension of the four-lane road was scheduled to be completed by December 31, 2006. However, the contractor Seereeram Brothers in their initial proposal had scheduled the date of completion by March, 2007.
Before the project began last June, the government "tried to get them to see how they could complete the project by the end of December," he said, adding that once the work had begun the completion was not possible by yearend for several reasons.
The main reason, he said, was that in order to have the stadium completed by October 2006, the stadium project required the services of Seereeram Brothers to pave the access road so that the Indian Vice President would have had a good access (dirt) road for the dedication ceremony of the work done by the Indian contractor, Sharpoorji Pallonji. Following that there was the ICC CWC West Indies Inc venue tour on November 16, 2006 and to obtain a blue or green rating, this meant that the ring road around the stadium had to be completed or most of the work had to be substantially nearing completion. Again the services of Seereeram Brothers were used.
Following the November tour was the February 6 tour, which was a pivotal one, Willis said. In order to get the go-ahead to host the games, substantial work had to be completed on the car park and the access road had to be paved to an acceptable stage. "Again the services of Seereeram Brothers were used to get the access road completed to the stage where it is at so we could get the go-ahead to host the games," he said.
The ICC CWC West Indies Inc had required that all infrastructural works for the ICC CWC 2007 tournament be completed by December 31.
Willis estimated that getting the access road completed and other infrastructural works in the stadium complex done took Seereeram Brothers off their own work site for about 50 days. "This is time we have to give back Seereeram Brothers to get back to completing the four-lane extension," he said.
"Another challenge" that impacted on the progress of the road, he said, was that the government asked for the Providence Bridge to be opened to traffic so as not to be embarrassed by traffic congestion when the dignitaries attending the Rio Summit were coming to and from Georgetown or when they moved about.
Once the Rio Summit ended, work restarted. Most of the "permanent work" on the bridge and carriageway would be completed by March 22, Willis said. At present, the sub-contractor, Courtney Benn Construction Company along with Seereeram Brothers, and the Ministry of Public Works "are taking all the steps to have this bridge and main carriageway to the stadium completed for the first ball bowling on March 28."
He said, "We would like to have all the main civil works closed one week before so that the ICC CWC has some level of confidence that things are ready here and we don't have works going on while players and spectators are coming in from Timehri."
Committed labour force lacking
Noting that there were not many problems with technical and administrative staff, Willis said there were at times problems with the workmen on the ground and to get the work done on time, "we have been giving incentives to the sub-contractors who have met their targets." Over the last six months, he said, there had been no shortages of either cement aggregate or sand. "The thing we seem to suffer more from is a lack of a committed labour force."
The contractors have indicated that by mid-May the extension would be completed. The work to be finished after the completion of the Super Eight Series would be the laying on of the second layer of asphalt. So far the work has remained within the US$3.5 million budget.
Answering questions, generally in terms of match readiness, Willis said much was in place. He said there was a good pitch and field for play, accommodation for players, officials, spectators, a good public address system, security cameras in place, and the security zoning fence was completed. The air conditioning unit, water supply and sewage disposal all looked as though they were in order and were said to be so.
Willis said that in terms of government's work on the stadium, that was still behind in getting some of the drains completed. While the fencing was completed some gates are still to be installed. These works are expected to be completed by March 19.
On the drainage of the field, he said that every time it rains the subsurface field and pitch drainage system goes into effect. He explained that as the water percolates through the sand, it is collected in the underground manifolds and drains in the peripheral concrete ring drains found around the field.
He said that since the construction of the pitch with the underground drainage system began, it has performed well so far in the various stages of rainfall.
Commenting on the completion of the parking lot, which would accommodate some 2,500 cars between the stadium and the Buddy's International Hotel, Willis said that the filling should be completed by today. There are three sub-contractors, including BK International and Mohamed Rahim and Sons. It is expected that they would complete all the works, including the cutting of earth drains and placing some culverts in the area within another week or two. The works are being executed at a cost of $35 million.