The Government has gotten approval from its counterparts in China to utilise the sums saved on the East Coast Demerara (ECD) road widening and improvement contract to execute additional roadworks linked to the project.
Public Works Minister Juan Edghill made this announcement in an interview on Friday.
“We are going to be doing 24 connector roads. The connector road is the road that is going to be coming north or south to the main access road,” the Minister is quoted by the Department of Public Information as saying.
Some $1 billion has been allocated for the programme in the 2021 budget. From that sum, the Government of Guyana has invested nearly $440 million with about $560 million saved from the project.
China Railway First Group Company Limited is the contractor for the project. Works are expected to be completed by year end.
Upon taking office, Minister Edghill criticised the coalition’s handling of the project, which saw a rushed commissioning in the lead-up to the 2020 elections while there were critical outstanding components.
Many of those issues were later rectified. This includes the installation of street lights and traffic signs, among other works.
The ECD connector roads tie into the Government’s infrastructural development agenda that is linked to other transformational projects.
These roads will provide easier access and reduce traffic congestion when the Ogle-Eccles thoroughfare comes on stream. That four-lane highway will connect the ECD and East Bank Demerara corridors.
Edghill has said there are plans to extend the road further to Diamond, then Timehri. He said the intended outcome is to have a thoroughfare connecting the country’s two main international airports at Ogle and Timehri.
India has already prequalified contractors for the $10.4 billion Ogle-Eccles road. A contract award is expected by the last quarter of 2021.