Apaula Heights road-work completion date unclear

Work to fix the Apaula Heights road is still underway, 15 months after a $400,000 contract was awarded to a local contractor to get the job done. 

The contract was awarded to Ulia Construction with the project completion date set for August 2018. But work to fix the 1,500-meter long deteriorating road did not start until September last year — 13 months after the contract was awarded. 

Minister of Land Transport Authority, Papali’i Niko Lee Hang, told the Samoa Observer last year that the Government has moved to penalise the construction company over its failure to meet the project completion date. 

All contractors are given a timeframe by the Government to complete the projects. Failure to meet the deadlines will attract penalty fees, added Papali’i.

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“The contract says the project should have been completed by August but that did not happen. The penalty charge started in September (last year),” he said.

It is unclear at this stage how much the company paid in penalty fees due to the delay in completing the road-works, as the Minister and the Chief Executive Officer Galumalemana Taatialeoitiiti Agnes Tutuvanu-Schwalger have not responded to questions sent by this newspaper.

The awarding of the contract to Ulia Construction was confirmed in a letter dated October 12, 2017 to affected residents in the area. It was written and signed by the Land Transport Authority principal engineer Elvin Ale. 

“The contract with the landslide section (as shown in photos) has just been awarded to a contractor (Ulia Construction) and works shall start within the next 2 weeks,” the letter reads.

“The contract (T$400,000) only covers this section, construction of retaining wall from the bottom to top, and a road section of 30 metres."

“An estimated cost for the whole road (about 1,500 metres) is around $900,000 and has been included in the list of works (over 50 roads) in the pipeline since mid-2016.”

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