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Agreement with US Federal Highway Authority to supervise road projects

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Bidding extended from June 15 to July 3

KUWAIT CITY, June 15: At a time when attention is drawn to the Ministry of Public Works’ plan to maintain and radically rehabilitate roads, sources revealed a tendency to sign an agreement with the US Federal Highway Authority to supervise contracts expected to be signed with international companies, reports Al-Qabas daily. The sources explained that this step is aimed to ensure efficient supervision and oversight of projects by a global expert. This authority had previously worked in the country in 1968 under the name “Office of Public Roads in the US Department of Transportation”.

During that period, the country’s roads were of a high level of quality. The closing date for road maintenance tenders for international companies has been extended from June 15 to July 3 based on the request of the bidding companies for further study and scrutiny. The ministry insisted on closing the door for submitting bids immediately after the Eid al-Adha holidays in order to ensure the implementation based on the previously announced timetable, and to start road maintenance work in early August. Starting during that period allows the ministry to take advantage of the summer vacation period and the travel of many citizens and residents, which facilitates the closure of some highway roads when working on them, especially during night times, as was the norm during the previous laying works.

A total of 11 international companies have acquired the documents, including four Chinese companies, two Indian companies, and one each from Japan, Turkey, Germany, America and South Korea. The technical committee composed of five government agencies will start examining the offers after the closing of the door for submission. Regarding the expected signing of an agreement with the Federal Highway Administration in the United States (FHWA) to supervise road maintenance contracts, the sources said the step that is currently being worked on is based on the guidance of Minister Dr. Amani Bouqmaz. It is aimed to ensure efficient supervision and oversight of projects from an international body that enjoys experience and a good reputation in particular. The Federal Authority had previously worked in the country from 1968 under the name “Office Public Roads in the US Department of Transportation. In 2005, the Ministry of Public Works tried to re-cooperate with the authority and an agreement was already signed, but it was not activated for unknown reasons.

The ministry considers the presence of an international consultant to supervise tenders as necessary to ensure the efficiency and quality of implementation. Regarding the submission extension, the extension came at the request of international companies, during the preliminary meeting that was held with the companies on June 1. Some companies requested an extension of up to two additional months for further technical study so that they could submit offers optimally. Some others submitted proposals that are currently being studied. The sources also highlighted the great positive interaction by the companies, represented in submitting inquiries within the legal period specified for that, as the ministry in turn responded to them. The ministry insisted that the door for bidding be closed immediately after the Eid holidays, based on its keenness on the timetable which was previously announced, provided that the implementation of the contracts will start in early August.

The sources affirmed the ministry’s full keenness to follow up with transparency and clarity, and keep the public informed of the new plan, as it is committed to what was previously announced regarding signing practices with the parent company and dealing directly with it. They said the authorities scheduled to participate in the technical committee to examine the offers submitted by the companies include the Ministry of Electricity and Water, Ministry of Finance, the Public Authority for Housing Welfare and the Fatwa and Legislation Department, and the Ministry of Public Works.

They informed the ministry of their nominations, and the committee is scheduled to start its work to vet offers right after closing. The sources indicated that the ministry, during the coming period, will allocate offices for the companies that will be signed with inside the headquarters of the Ministry of Public Works in order to facilitate the process of finalizing all procedures and correspondences related to tenders with the various state agencies under the direct supervision of the ministry. They revealed that the ministry had addressed the Municipal Council to allocate sites in the six governorates of the country to establish offices and housing for workers of global road maintenance contracts, adding that the request was referred to the technical committees in the council, which are currently working in coordination with the governorates to allocate those sites.

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