South Sound boardwalk faces more delays

A section of the South Sound boardwalk was damaged last week by a truck. - Photo: Ken Silva

Some two years after Premier Alden McLaughlin said that the South Sound boardwalk would be finished by the end of 2016, government has still not announced an expected completion date for the $1.3 million project.

Much of the work along the half-mile boardwalk appears to be done, but one of the sections has been severely damaged by a vehicle. The Infrastructure Ministry told the Compass that a truck ran over the boardwalk on Oct. 17 and broke multiple planks. The responsible party has agreed to cover the costs of the damage and repairs have begun, the ministry said on Monday.

The ministry did not respond before this article’s press deadline to questions about the project’s expected completion date or what work remains to be done. Other amenities include benches, parking and a bike lane in the South Sound area near the Cayman Crossing subdivision.

The ministry’s last public update on the project was an Oct. 4 Facebook post with the hashtag “coming soon.”

“Crystal clear blue sea, lush greenery – the South Sound Boardwalk will have it all. #SouthSoundBoardwalk #ComingSoon,” the ministry’s Facebook post states.

The development has had multiple delays since it was announced in June 2016 as part of an overall beautification and improvement scheme for the area. In October 2016, Premier Alden McLaughlin said that work would be completed by the end of that year.

However, no work seemed to have taken place until the National Roads Authority changed the alignment of the road and announced in September 2017 that the change was made to accommodate the boardwalk construction. Dozens of traffic cones have extended along the roadside for months, but no work took place until February.

Government explained in a press release in January that it was working out “technical details” with the project contractor.

“A contract was signed with the Phoenix Construction Group late last year, but some final technical details had to be worked out prior to commencement,” government said at the time. Government said in January that the project should be completed by the end of June, but what the ministry termed “robust” construction needs have pushed that date by about two months.

“The construction of the boardwalk had to be robust because of its proximity to the sea and the natural undulation of the beach ridge,” government said in July. “There is also a ‘peat’ layer [plant matter] under the sand which can cause movement of the layers above it as water is absorbed or released.” Government’s update explained that if the boardwalk was simply constructed on top of compacted fill, like a typical sidewalk, the material could wash away in inclement weather, crack or wrap over time, and eventually lead to structural issues.

“The project is constructed with piles and a combination of concrete members and inlays of Trex planking,” government explained in July, adding that the project should be finished by the end of August.