EBD road improvement: Italian, Canadian companies team up with locals to bid on project
…as bids opened for design, review and supervision of works
Bids were opened last week for a contract to design, review and supervise works on the East Bank of Demerara (EBD) highway from Good Success to Timehri, as part of the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Government’s countrywide push to revamp Guyana’s infrastructure.
The contract is for the EBD public road improvement project, for which the Government held consultations in communities last year. It turns out that at least four bids were received for the project, including from both local and international companies, who have in some cases teamed up.
Among the companies bidding were Beston Consulting Limited, a local company based in Diamond, EBD. Also submitting a bid was Sheladia Associates Incorporated, a United States (US)-based company.
EXP Services Incorporated, a Canadian company based in Ontario, also submitted a bid in association with local company CEMCO Incorporated. And Italian company Politecnica submitted a bid in association with SRKN’gineering, a Guyanese company.
The Government has been engaged in rapid road widening works along the Diamond/Grove Public Road on the EBD to relieve road users of the daunting traffic congestion, Last year September, the Public Works Ministry urgently facilitated rehabilitative work along the Diamond/Grove area. It had said that these works are not only to ease traffic congestion but also to improve transportation efficiency and road traffic safety at these locations.
Works include milling and resurfacing of the existing roadway, widening of the roadway, and construction of a bridge linking Third Avenue Diamond into Grove. These works will aid in providing a smooth and uninterrupted flow of vehicular traffic through Diamond/Grove area, and provide an alternative route for drivers who are using the Mocha/Diamond road link.
In Budget 2022, an allocation of $2.1 billion was made for the widening and paving of the East Bank highway from Grove to Timehri. And in January 2023, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) had approved some US$100 million to commence the Diamond/Grove to Timehri road project.
The loan was requested through the IDB’s Programme to Support Climate Resilient Infrastructure Development. Under this programme, the Government will be looking to improve road safety, pedestrian infrastructure, and utility networks. The aim is to mitigate congestion and delays faced by commuters traversing the corridor.
At the time, Government had been utilising local funds to desilt all the drains and widen roads along the Diamond/Grove corridor. Public Works Minister Bishop Juan Edghill had noted that with this approval, they would finalise the procurement process.
“The Diamond/Grove to Timehri road, which is what people are very concerned about, will see that upgrade. We have the approval of the money from the IDB, and we are at finalising the procurement for the contractor to engage in the interim,” Edghill had said.
“I am sure commuters are satisfied inasmuch as we haven’t solved the problem totally. The ride through Grove has been significantly improved, and it is moving much faster because of the interventions that we have made, and we continue to do some maintenance work almost on a nightly basis,” Minister Edghill had further noted.
Works on widening and upgrading the Grove to Diamond road are expected to further complement plans to construct the new US$261 million high span bridge across the Demerara River, which will land aback Nandy Park on the East Bank of Demerara and at La Grange, West Bank Demerara.
The new bridge will be a fixed 2.65-kilometre four-lane high-span cable-stayed structure across the Demerara River, with the width of the driving surface being about 23.6 metres. It will feature a bicycle lane and is expected to bring an end to closures to vehicular traffic with a 50-metre fixed high-span to cater for the free flow of vessels uninterrupted. The river will be dredged along a 13.5-kilometre stretch to accommodate large vessels.
This new bridge will replace the ageing floating Demerara Harbour Bridge (DHB), which has outlived its lifespan by several decades. At 1.25 miles (2.01km), the current Demerara Harbour Bridge is a strategic link between the East and West Banks of Demerara, facilitating the daily movement of thousands of vehicles, people, and cargo.