Further delays are now impacting on the project to construct the new coastal road around Réunion Island. The tale of woe concerning the project was not always this way, having started optimistically and with funding from France.
However, the construction of the 12.5km coastal road will not now be completed until 2023 at the earliest, some 10 years after construction commenced. Costs have climbed compared with the original estimate of US$1.95 billion and will likely hit $2.44 billion.
The new link is needed as the existing coastal road is often blocked by rockfalls and bad weather. The new road comprises a 5.6km section of viaduct running above the sea, just off the coast of the island, as well as 6.9km embankment section.
A consortium comprising contractors Vinci and Bouygues is carrying out the construction of the viaduct section while the embankment is being built by GTOI and SBTPC. At present the road is around 80% complete, but delays have been caused by issues such as the need to import aggregates for the work. The Bois-Blanc quarry in Saint-Leu was to provide 7 million tonnes of the stone needed for the project, but environmental concerns put a stop to this proposal. Instead, the aggregates required are now having to be imported, with a significant extra cost.
There was also a legal challenge to the award of the contract for the viaduct section to Vinci and Bouygues from Eiffage, which had also made a bid for the work. Eiffage appealed against the contract for the package of works to its rivals and an inquiry into this award is still ongoing.