Completion of the Great Western Highway upgrade at Hazelbrook has been delayed by six months due to the financial woes of contractor, Reed Constructions.
The section of highway between Hazelbrook and Woodford was scheduled by Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) for completion by the end of the year, however Blue Mountains MP Roza Sage said Reed’s financial problems meant works would be delayed by about six months.
“I am advised from the Minister for Roads Duncan Gay’s office that the deadlines will be affected due to this period and an additional six months should be added onto the end date for this section,” she said in a statement.
“This is obviously very disappointing however myself and the government could not have foreseen the delay when determining the estimated completion date.”
Reed has until next week to prove it can complete vital road projects across the state or the NSW Government “could be forced to make alternative arrangements for project delivery”, according to Finance Minister Greg Pearce.
An expert panel led by Andrew Rogers, QC, was established by the government following Reed’s February announcement that it was experiencing financial difficulties.
Mr Pearce said the panel had been examining Reed’s situation and was expected to give its verdict as to liability by May 21.
“The NSW Government’s priority is to see the completion of the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Alfords Point and Shortland to Sandgate road projects, contracted to Reed Construction,” he said in a statement.
“If the determination of the expert panel is that no claims are payable that will be the end of the matter.
“If their determination is that there is a liability, Reed, Roads and Maritime Services, and the Department of Education, and if necessary the expert panel, will do further work to determine quantum, with unpaid subcontractors having first priority.
“Before recommencing any outstanding road work for the NSW Government, Reed must convince the government and Reed’s own suppliers and sub-contractors that it can complete these vital roads.
“If Reed does not, the NSW Government will take steps to complete the projects.”
The government has vowed not bail the company out despite work halting at Hazelbrook in February when Reed announced it owed contractors across the state as much as $80 million.
Reed was contracted to complete 3.2 kilometres of highway widening work in the Mid-Mountains.
Mrs Sage said she understood the community’s frustration with the outstanding road works.
“Hazelbrook residents in particular have suffered the most and deserve to have a first class road,” she said.