Repairs to the vital causeway linking Middle Caicos to North Caicos that was damaged four years ago when Hurricane Hanna dumped massive amounts of rain as a tropical storm daily for almost a week, then formed into a weak category one hurricane, breaching the earthen road in several places.
Emergency repairs have been battered by summer storms, occasional squalls and daily tidal flows, with a portion of the road reduced to a rough and dangerous single lane.
The interim government had announced that repairs would begin this month but as June draws to a close there has been no announcement of a contractor being selected and no equipment or material are seen at the site.
The specifications for the repairs have not been in the public venue but leaks have indicated that square concrete culverts are due to be part of the upgrades and repairs. Some sources report there will only be one culvert and others say there may be as many as four.
The money allocated for the repairs, which have been called temporary, is $1.4 million. There has been widespread concern that repairing the road during the hurricane season could expose the road to further damage if tropical storms or a hurricane visit the scene this summer.
For many years Middle Caicos was linked via a bi-weekly weekly ferry service and daily air service. However, the airport also has a badly deteriorated landing surface and has been disqualified by the Civil Aviation Authority and is only available for emergency flights. The flights were heavily subsidized by the former elected government.
The funding -- a reported $10.8 million -- to build the causeway was granted to the Derek Taylor-led government in May 2003 but Taylor failed to announce the award. The Michael Misick-led government, which took over in late 2003, sat on the funds until late 2006 when the February 2007 election was looming.
During an inspection of the damage in late 2008, a representative of a Canadian engineering firm reported that they were contacted by the Misick government, which expressed a desire to build the road bridging the two islands for only $4 million. The original design has been reported to have included several bridges but the final construction included only one short bridge near the North Caicos shore.
The final construction costs were said to have amounted to $5.2 million. North Caicos Construction Ltd was the building contractor and Herzog Construction furnished the pavement.
The interim government recently reported that the outstanding bills owed to Herzog for this and other paving, amounting to $16 million, were only recently paid off.