Negotiations to get work completed on the Great Western Highway at Hazelbrook have begun following the NSW Government’s decision to terminate the services of embattled contractor Reed Constructions.
Roads Minister Duncan Gay announced the contracts for four road projects with Reed had been terminated, which included a 3.2km stretch of the highway between Woodford and Hazelbrook.
Work stopped in the Mid Mountains in February when the company announced it owed contractors across the state as much as $80 million and claimed it was owed money by the government for work already completed.
But both Mr Gay and Blue Mountains MP Roza Sage said Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) had delivered payments to Reed ahead of contract terms to support its cash flow and help meet subcontractor commitments.
“The government was paying Reed ahead of the contract terms and to ensure that this highway will finally get completed the termination of the contract with Reed is necessary,” Mrs Sage said in a statement.
“I have been liaising with [Mr Gay], Minister for Finance Greg Pearce and RMS to ensure that the Great Western Highway is completed in a timely fashion.”
RMS would start negotiations with “a number of contractors immediately”, Mr Gay said.
“It was decided by RMS to terminate Reed’s services and ensure the priority was for the important road projects to be completed as soon as possible,” he said.
“An expert panel . . . recently provided its report to the NSW Government on the claims by Reed Construction alleging the Department of Education and Communities (DEC) and RMS owe Reed money for work on education and road projects.
“RMS’ legal teams reviewed the independent determination to understand its implications and also reviewed Reed’s responses to letters issued by RMS on May 14 about Reed’s ability to carry out its contractual obligations.
“An email contact address is available for subcontractors and suppliers to provide them with an opportunity to register their interest in continuing to work on these projects (email@example.com).”
Mr Sage said she was “very pleased that this saga is finally coming to an end.
“Since Reed’s financial difficulties became apparent and the work stopped on the Great Western Highway the residents have felt their lives were on hold,” she said.
“I have been petitioned from hundreds of residents because they had lost faith in Reed.”
Mrs Sage previously acknowledged the highway widening between Woodford and Hazelbrook would not be completed by the end of this year as forecast by the RMS, and would probably take an additional six months instead.