Papali’i warns reckless road contractors
Members of the public can expect less pot holes and better roads over the years with the regulating Ministry stepping up to closely monitor road contractors’ work.
This was confirmed by Minister of Works Transport and Infrastructure, Papali’i Niko Lee Hang, who has issued a stern warning to road contractors.
He was particularly concern about the repair and maintenance contractors who continue to fill up potholes with rocks – which get washed away days after by the rain.
“There are some contractors that don’t fix the roads properly, they just take the money to make more profits but the road work is not good,” he told Samoa Observer in an interview.
“So I have decided whichever contractor doesn’t do a good job (with roads) we will no longer award them any works. I have noticed that some contractors just want to bid low, so they can win the tender but they struggle to do work properly.
“There will be no more variation – they have to bid from terms and conditions provided – and the Land and Transport Authority (L.T.A.) is strengthening their monitoring works to ensure that Government money is well spent.”
When he was asked to identify the reckless contractors, Papali’i declined, saying he feels sorry for them but confirmed there are about five.
He recalled an inspection he did at Leulumoega, where he stopped and was told by a family, that the machine operator was going to get some diesel for the machine.
“Contractors like that are delaying works for Government and quality of work is not good,” he said.
“It wastes the Government money and we will make sure they will not be rewarded with any more works. What we have told the repair and maintenance contractors is – if they see that the road requires a lot of work – then they should give advise to reconstruct the whole road, but not just fill up the pot holes…it is more costly doing that.”
According to Papali’i, the budget set aside for road repair is $8 million and capital works is $10 million.
He maintained that it is still not enough to cater for the needs of constructing better roads.
When he was asked about losses in terms of road works that are not properly done, the Minister said there are certainly losses but he was unable to give an estimate.
Papali’i also blamed the monitoring agency, L.T.A. for not following up and monitoring the work of the contractors.
He said if the authority leaves road works to the contractors – with the hope they will do what they are required to do – it will not turn out well.
Part of ensuring the contractors are on track and fixing the roads properly is for them to keep a performance record.
At the moment, Papali’i said works are underway to fix roads at Aleisa going to Leulumoega route as a shortcut to Faleolo airport, while road works are continuing at the west coast of Upolu.
“So eventually we will have better roads but works will also depend on the funds we get.”
Earlier this month, Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi echoed similar concern over pot holes and the need for contractors to do a better job.
Speaking recently during the commissioning of two Human Rights Protection Party (H.R.P.P.) candidates for the Fa’asaleleaga No.2 by-election, Tuilaepa said there are contractors to fix roads yet they are still in bad condition.
“It means this (road works) needs to be changed too,” he said.
“This is the case when it rains - the roads have potholes and they (road contractors) just fill it up with stones but they are paid money to fix it and the Government needs to look into this and change it.”