$2.3B in contracts awarded for Eccles-to-Mandela 4-lane Highway

The Housing and Water Ministry on Thursday signed several contracts to the tune of $2.3 billion for works to be done on the four-lane highway that would link Eccles on the East Bank of Demerara (EBD) to Mandela Avenue in Greater Georgetown, and provide an alternative access road that would ease traffic congestion along the EBD corridor.
The project, being carried out by the Ministry’s Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA), would see construction of the country’s first fully concreted four-lane highway, with dual carriageways of two lanes each and jointed reinforced concrete pavement.

Housing Minister Collin Croal and Minister Susan Rodrigues, along with CH&PA CEO Sherwyn Greaves, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Andre Ally, and contractors at Thursday’s signing

Works to be done include land clearing, drain cleaning; construction of 5.4 kilometres of earthen drains and 200 metres of reinforced concrete drains; construction of box culverts, construction of 2.8 kilometres of carriageway, with parking lanes; installation of solar street lights; and construction of 12 heavy-duty composite bridges.
While the new four-lane highway was designed in-house, the contractors to execute the project were drawn from Guyana, Brazil and Trinidad. Works would commence on April 14, and are expected to be completed by December 10, 2021.
Works have been divided into six lots: Lot 1- Eccles, East Bank Demerara; Lot 2- Agricola, Greater Georgetown; Lot 3– Rome, Greater Georgetown; Lot 4– Houston South, Lot 5- Houston North, Greater Georgetown; and Lot 6 – South Ruimveldt, Greater Georgetown.
The contracts signed on Thursday are with Guyamerica Construction Incorporated to the tune of $555 million; MTSUL Construcoes Limited, M and P Investment Incorporated and Cobra Eireli for $364.4 million; Puran Bros Disposal Incorporated for $360.2 million; Collin Talbot Contracting Services and Eron Lall Civil Engineering Works for $256.7 million; Aronco Services Incorporated for $471 million, and JS Guyana Incorporated for $352.4 million.
At the signing ceremony, CH&PA’s Chief Executive Officer Sherwyn Greaves admonished the contractors to put more than their best foot forward, since the concrete highway is sort of a “test tube” for the country.
The CH&PA Head has charged the contractors to commence their work on time, and move apace so that the project can be delivered within the timeframe given.
Also speaking at the contract signing was Housing Minister Collin Croal, who noted that the contracts signed would complement the 199 contracts signed with some 78 contractors for infrastructural works in new and existing housing schemes, and for the construction of homes. Those contracts are valued at some $14 billion.
“We are particularly pleased to be part of the signing of these contracts, because this is now a new area under our work programme, and it shows growth. And I want to commend the Project Department for how far they have moved in being able to implement the project,” Croal declared.
He outlined that a major part of developing new housing schemes is creating access.
“When we are (finished) with these six contracts; that is, from Eccles to Mandela complemented with the stretch from Great Diamond to Eccles, we are speaking about 18,800 beneficiaries that directly, or households that are within the remit of our housing schemes along that stretch of the East Bank.
“When you multiply that per household and take into consideration that the additional persons from other parts of the East Bank, persons who may come across the bridge from the West Coast and West Bank that don’t use this connecting road as an ingress and egress, then the relief that will be brought to bear and persons along that side of Georgetown will be significant, reducing travel time and allowing us to open new connecting areas,” the Housing Minister posited.
Meanwhile, Minister within the Housing Ministry, Susan Rodrigues, added that the housing sector is advancing rapidly, and this is aimed at ensuring the PPP/C Government’s manifesto promise of delivering 50,000 house lots is fulfilled.
According to Rodrigues, this new four-lane highway would not only change the physical infrastructure of the country, but transform the lives of thousands of Guyanese. Some $1 billion has been allotted in Budget 2021 to advance the project.
The Eccles-to-Mandela Highway was announced by President Dr Irfaan Ali in January when he visited the proposed sites for the road. The Head of State had noted at the time that this project would ease congestion along the EBD corridor.
Dr Ali, whose PhD is in urban and regional planning, has said this is all part of the Government’s drive to transform Guyana’s infrastructure and link communities.
This four-lane highway will connect to another road project currently underway from Diamond to Eccles, EBD, providing an alternative access in key communities such as Prospect, Herstelling and Mocha. That road, which Minister Croal recently told this newspaper is almost completed and will be commissioned by the Head of State sometime this month, will run from Sixth Avenue in Diamond to the Mocha Access Road, and then on to the Windsor Estate Road that leads on to the Eccles Landfill Site Road.
These projects are being executed simultaneously with the India-funded Bypass Road Project which would link the East Bank corridor to the East Coast of Demerara, creating a new highway in the backlands.