The East Coast Demerara road extension project, which has caused much discomfort to drivers and motorists over the past months, due to ongoing works at peak hours, is slated for completion by September.
This was the position shared by Public Infrastructure Minister David Patterson who told Guyana Times that the works are ongoing, positively assuring that it will be completed within the stipulated time frame.
For now, he estimates that some 60 per cent of the work is completed and the other 40 per cent will take shape in the coming months.
“It is ongoing. We are monitoring the contractors and it is supposed to finish in September of this year. The last I heard in January was that it was around 55 per cent so by now, it should be around 60 [per cent],” said Patterson.
Works were scheduled to commence at Cummings Canal on Sheriff Street, including the relocation of water pipes and works along Dennis Street and Durey Lane between Middleton Street and Stone Avenue. There will also be a construction of a detour at Cummings Canal and the stage reconstruction of the bridge at Cummings Canal.
Meanwhile, the construction of another Mandela Avenue culvert is scheduled to commence. During the day when works are in progress, persons are asked to take caution when traversing these areas and maintain a speed limit of 20 kilometers per hour at the construction zones.
The US$50.2 million East Coast road expansion project has two components. One features a four-lane expansion of the road from Better Hope to Annandale and the other caters for an upgrade to the existing two-lane road from Annandale to Belfield.
Guyana had received a US$45.3 million concessional loan from the China EXIM (Export-Import) Bank to finance the road project, and that agreement was signed in January last year.
The project entails a total length of 16.998 kilometres of roads and 33.996 kilometres of drains to be built. Furthermore, the construction of seven bridges, the extension of 12 culverts and a median along with streetlights in the centre of the four lanes are supplementary works. The project commenced under the previous administration.
With the China EXIM Bank putting up most of the finances for the road expansion, Guyana had awarded the contract to China Railway First Group for some US$42.7 million. The Chinese construction company reportedly put in the lowest bid of US$46.994 million. The People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Administration had stated that it is saving some $2.8 billion by giving the contract to China Railway First Group.
Upon completion of the widening and improvement of the East Coast Demerara Highway, citizens travelling along the East Coast will benefit from reduced travel time and less traffic congestion. Apart from the road being expanded, the project includes improved drainage for the East Coast, which is usually susceptible to floods.
Meanwhile, India approved a new Line of Credit of US$50 million for the East Bank Demerara – East Coast Road Link Project under the previous PPP Government.