Contract for Ogle-Eccles bypass road to be signed soon

– as Guyana’s highway development moves apace

The Guyana Government will soon be signing the contract for the much-anticipated four-lane Ogle, East Coast Demerara, to Eccles, East Bank Demerara, bypass road project.
Government had written the Indian Exim Bank, through the diplomatic channels, to seek the bank’s no objection for Indian contractor, Ashoka Buildcon Limited, to construct the road project.
Guyana Times understands that the Indian Exim Bank has already given its approval but the Guyana Government is awaiting “official” confirmation.
When contacted on Sunday, Public Works Minister Juan Edghill could not say when that confirmation will be received.
“It could take hours or days. But once that [confirmation] comes, we will sign because everything else is ready. We are ready and eager [to start the project],” the Minister stated.

Works ongoing on the Eccles to Great Diamond four-lane road

It was announced in January of this year that Ashoka Buildcon Limited won the contract to construct the road, ahead of two other Indian companies. Ashoka has built a number of bridges and roads. According to the company’s website, it even built a bridge in 38 days, namely the Mandve Bridge near Pandharpur, India. According to the company, the bridge was supposed to be built in 12 months.
In February 2021, the Government of India had approved the new scope of works for the redesigned bypass road project that would link the East Coast of Demerara (ECD) at Ogle to Haags Bosch in Eccles, on the East Bank of Demerara (EBD).
The Diamond-Ogle bypass project will see the construction of some 26 kilometres of road linking two of the country’s main thoroughfares. This new road link will also be connected to key communities in Georgetown and along the East Bank of Demerara. These include Diamond, Mocha and Eccles – all on the East Bank – and Aubrey Barker Road in Georgetown. These connections will prove crucial in diverting traffic.
RITES Limited, an engineering consultancy company based in India, had undertaken a 10-month design consultancy, which produced a Detailed Project Report (DPR) outlining the draft final design of the bypass road. It is this report which recommended a four-lane highway as most feasible.
Rajendra Sothwal, a senior engineer with RITES Limited, had previously said the bypass road would include a metal beam barrier, concrete crash barrier, traffic signs and impact attenuators that reduce damage to infrastructure, pavement markings, highway lighting, a raised median that will reduce headlight glare.
Back in 2015, the Indian Government had provided a US$50 million Line of Credit (LOC) for the road link that was initially slated for Ogle to Diamond, East Bank Demerara. However, the project cost was driven up to over $208 million by the previous A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) Government and the project languished under them.
However, when the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Government took office in 2020, it redesigned the project into two phases to fit the LOC – first from Ogle to Haags Bosch road, which is about 48-50 per cent of the project, and then from Haags Bosch to Diamond – in order to fit the US$50 million LOC. Because of these changes in the scope of the project, additional approvals were required from New Delhi.

Highway development
Meanwhile, only recently, President Dr Irfaan Ali spoke about the advancement of the bypass road project during his Independence Day address last week.
According to the Head of State, this project runs alongside his Administration’s comprehensive highway development plan.
“In less than two years, we have been able to plan and design, and complete the feasibility study whilst we have raised the financing and commenced implementation of a comprehensive highway development plan,” he posited.
This plan includes the alternative four-lane highway from Mandela Avenue to Eccles, which was completed in April to the tune of $2.3 billion.
That road is now being extended from Eccles to Great Diamond. In fact, only Saturday night the first pour of cement was made to cast drains at the Eccles end of the extended four-lane highway.
Upon completion, the new road will be linked to the Mandela to Eccles four-lane highway and is expected to further reduce traffic congestion along the East Bank Demerara corridor.
Contracts to the tune of $13.3 billion were awarded to 12 contractors last December to construct the extended four-lane road.
Housing Minister Collin Croal recently told this publication that the 12 lots are at various stages but are moving apace. He said all the lots have finished the land clearing and most of them now are at the sand-filling and compaction stage.
This new alternative road project had encountered a challenge at the lot covering the boundary between the Mocha-Herstelling section, where there were about 35 residential buildings. The Housing Ministry has since engaged those persons to be relocated.
Already, the Ministry has wrapped up the process with over 30 homeowners and the process is ongoing “smoothly” with four others. They are being relocated nearby to the new housing schemes at Herstelling and Farm, along the East Bank corridor.
Croal indicated that the contractor at that lot has already commenced preliminary works in other areas. He said once those persons are relocated, then works will be done at that section.
According to Minister Croal, the works are on schedule and it is anticipated that the project will be completed ahead of its one-year deadline with Lot 1 – which starts at Eccles Dumpsite Road, where a roundabout is being built to connect to the Eccles to Mandela Avenue Road – being the first to be finished.