‘Coordinated Approach To Road Trenching’

January 30, 2020 | 4 Comments

“A coordinated approach to road trenching going forward is in effect,” Minister of Public Works Lt/Col David Burch said, noting that as BELCO plans to conduct major upgrades to its network it provides the opportunity to coordinate their efforts with others, and ensure that all the necessary entities are prepared and ready to lay any and all underground equipment they need to at the same time.

Minister Of Public Works Lt/Col David Burch’s comments

Speaking at a press conference today, Minister Burch said, “I am joined this afternoon by Ministry of Public Works officers, Mr. Kirk Outerbridge, Chief Engineer and Mr. Leyton Rahman, Principal Highways Engineer and  BELCO representatives Mr. Nadir Wade – Director of Grid Management Services and Mr. Jonathan Pedro, Capital Projects Engineer – to announce the progress made over several months of collaboration between our two organisations.

“Let me first state that the President of  BELCO – Mr. Dennis Pimentel – who has led this effort is unable to be present today but is ably represented by Mr. Wade.

Ministry of Public Works joint initiative with Belco Bermuda Jan 2020

“For many years, various service providers at one time or another, have on their own carried out road trenching works to install or repair equipment under the public roads – often times without much regard for the land owner – the Ministry of Public Works or road users.

“As we drive on your daily commute, the remnants of this work in the form of uneven road surfaces, recurring potholes, and different surfacing materials is something experienced by every road user.

“Just over a year ago -in an effort to address this issue the Ministry implemented a policy of enforcing the issuance of permits and requiring the proper reinstatement of roads.

“Concurrently, we began discussions with  BELCO, as the primary utility in this space, to explore ways in which this process could be corrected. Once that was accomplished – other service providers were included in the discussions – that brings us to this announcement today. Effective immediately, a coordinated approach to road trenching going forward is in effect.

“It is timely that BELCO’s need to conduct major upgrades to its network over the next three years, provides the opportunity to coordinate their efforts to carry out island-wide trenching and ensure that all the necessary entities are prepared and ready to lay any and all underground equipment they need to at the same time.

“Examples of this is cabling, piping, extra conduits for future use, whatever is necessary to ensure that once the trenching work is complete, the people of Bermuda will have newly paved roads across the country that will be more durable, resilient, long-lasting and not have to be excavated in the foreseeable future.

“These works will also have the benefit of further stimulating our economy. Let me explain.

“Due to the size and scope of the BELCO  project, completing the work will involve private sector contractors being brought on which will in turn create jobs and work for other sectors.

“I’m sure all will agree this is good news, however as is the nature of road works, at times there will be traffic disruptions. While traffic delays are always an inconvenience, it is an unavoidable but necessary part of this important work – all efforts will be made to give as much advance notice as possible and keep disruptions to a minimum.

“As such, on behalf of the Government of Bermuda, BELCO and all the organizations involved in this effort, I apologize in advance for any inconvenience caused, and ask for the public’s patience and full cooperation as we carry out these critical infrastructure upgrades. This short term pain will lead to long term gain.

“So when the time comes and you find yourself sitting in traffic, frustrated with the delay, and wishing the traffic would just move along, I ask that you take a moment to consider the immense benefit to all road users.

“Following these works, we will have a far more secure, reliable, state of the art infrastructure for all, and probably most importantly – we foresee no need for future road trenching for many years to come.

“I believe that this sacrifice is a small price to pay as we work together toward a better Bermuda. Proper planning will afford us the opportunity for all stakeholders to benefit from this collaborative approach.

“I would like to recognize the efforts of the former Chief Engineer, Mr. Yves Bob Lortie – who started this initiative, his successor Mr. Kirk Outerbridge who has seamlessly picked up that ball and ran with it, Mr. Dennis Pimentel and Mr. Nadir Wade of BELCO – all of whom are responsible for getting us to this point. I am convinced that all road users will be pleased with the eventual outcome.

“I now ask Mr. Wade from BELCO to provide some specifics on this important project. Thank you.”

BELCO Director of Grid Management Services Nadir Wade’s comments

Director of Grid Management Services Nadir Wade said, “During the last 100 years, BELCO has installed hundreds of miles of overhead, underground and even undersea cables connecting homes and businesses across the island.

“As power needs and technology progressed, this grid infrastructure has been upgraded and replaced. However, there are parts of the grid that are now 60 years old and in need of replacement.

“As part of BELCO’s $250 million capital plan, we are making major improvements to our grid that will serve all our customers into the future with more reliable, safe and cost-effective electricity.

“The upgrades we are making will also ensure that we can accommodate large and small-scale renewable energy to be safely fed into the grid – from projects such as the solar finger installation at the Airport to residential rooftop solar.

“Part of this grid upgrade, as Minister Burch explained, will require trenching along public roads to lay cable underground.

“This project is expected to last 36 months. We will share on our website anywhere the public will be impacted.

“The project will start next month in the east end trenching from the sub-station at the LF Wade International Airport to Mullet Bay in St. George’s before we . We will work to complete the east end within the next year and a half and the west end in the following.

“We are planning the work to create as minimal disruption as possible.

“I’m also pleased to reiterate what Minister Burch said about cooperation with the Government and other utilities to ensure that they can take advantage of the trenching and install any other infrastructure that may be required in future.

“This will ensure roads that have been trenched and newly paved won’t be dug up again for the foreseeable future, as outlined by the Minister.

“Through financing, cost savings and other measures we are working hard to ensure we improve our service to our customers without passing on the cost.

“On behalf of our entire team at BELCO I would like to ask for the public’s understanding and patience as we complete these critical infrastructure upgrades that will ensure a more secure energy future for everyone. Thank you.”

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Comments (4)

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  1. Red rose says:

    The only question there is: why has this taken so long to do?

  2. comfortably numb says:

    How about doing a decent job on resurfacing the road after trenching? Following the Watlington Waterworks trenching some years ago there remains a dangerous rut all the way from Southampton through Somerset. if it’s dangerous to us locals who know about it, it must be a potential death trap for all those cruisers heading east from Dockyard over the summer.

  3. mixitup says:

    For a project of this magnitude, I really hope to see minimum overhead power lines and properly paved streets… Also make sure your traffic management plan is solid (I’ma still be irritated with this part, I won’t lie) and that I DO NOT SEE YOU DIGGING for a very long time…like you promised. Nonetheless, good to see Bermuda’s infrastructure getting the attention it needs.

  4. Stinky D. says:

    This isn’t new. This has been tried before. BELco BTC and Watington Water could never coordinate their projects.

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