Progress on the Airport Project haul road has been building steadily since The Sentinel's last visit, approximately 3 weeks ago.
Foreman, Len Coleman, and his team have managed to cut another 500 metres of driveable track. After a speedy start which saw the team cut nearly a kilometre of access road into the hillside at Pipe Ridge, the team have encountered a patch of hard rock. To progress further down into Rupert's Valley the rock face needs to be blasted. "We have been stuck on the same patch of road for about a week," said Coleman, "because we have encountered some rock that needs to be blasted. Drilling and blasting has held up progress a little bit."
Coleman expects further delays due to rain and the need for blasting. In addition to areas mapped out the team has also identified further sections of rock that will need blasting. "From this stretch of road to the Rupert's Valley I envisage having to do about 6 or 7 blasts." Drilling in preparation for the blast will be carried out over the next few days.
In addition to the team cutting the road down from Pipe Ridge there is also a team working up from the road in Ruperts Valley. "We work very closely with the next team," said Coleman. "There the team are using a small JCB excavator and a Volvo back hoe. They have also had the need to blast, but are making progress as well."
Here on island we are currently entering our winter period; rainfall is slowly increasing. Coleman commented, "Although rain is something you shelter from, it's the after effects that cause us problems. On the terrain the muddy conditions makes it unsafe for our machinery to operate."
When asked about completion times Coleman said, "We've encountered rock that we need to blast our way through and with the increasing rainfall the goal posts are always moving. I don't think it's going to be completed before the arrival of the Basil Read ship, but getting to the bottom before the ship drops anchor would be a really good feeling."