Minister admits project costlier than previously envisioned

ECD/EBD bypass road

…surveyors submit new design

Even in its civil works stage, the bypass road linking the East Coast of Demerara (ECD) to the East Bank (EBD) is proving to be a much more enormous project than anticipated.
This is according to Public Infrastructure Minister, David Patterson, while addressing the National Assembly’s Committee of Supply last week.
The bypass road, which is being funded by the Indian Government, will provide an alternative route connecting the East Coast at Ogle to the East Bank at Diamond. Since the Indian government is funding the project, it is required that the contracts be awarded to companies from that country and as such, a 10-month design consultancy project was awarded to India-based RITES Limited.
According to Patterson, the draft final design has been submitted by the surveyors and is currently being reviewed by the Ministry. He pointed out that the project is of a bigger scale than previously envisioned.
“What was previously envisaged when the loan was taken was a single road linking house lot developments (but) what has been designed and is being reviewed at the moment is a dual carriageway, which is not just for linking house lots; it is actually an additional new entry way into the city. So it’s is new bypass road (design), so therefore it is vastly improved than what was initially perceived,” Patterson told the Committee as he successful sought additional funds.
The Minister requested an additional $67.410 million to cover payments for consultancy services provided by the Indian firm as well as to carryout preparatory works on the route earmarked for the new bypass road. He explained that along the area identified for the new link road, there is a ‘swampy’ section and part of the monies sought will be injected into clearing that area.
“The surveyors would have walked the entire length from the East Coast all the way the pass Diamond and Grove (on the East Bank) and then encountered a swampy section of about 30 acres of swamp land. So as we have the time now, we want to drain that so that by the time we start construction – hopefully very shortly – it will be drained and ready to have the road (works started)… The scope of the works is obviously enormous… (and) the more we can do upfront will make the project far easier when we do come to full implementation,” Patterson asserted.
This Diamond-Ogle Bypass project will see some 26 kilometers of road constructed, linking two of the country’s main thoroughfare. This new road link will also be connected to key communities in Georgetown and along the East Bank of Demerara. These includes Diamond, Mocha, Eccles – all on the East Bank – and Aubrey Barker Road in Georgetown.
Back in 2016, Finance Minister Winston Jordan signed a US$50 million loan with the Export-Import (EXIM) Bank of India for the construction of link road. The Guyana government has indicated its intention of extending the bypass road from Diamond all the way to the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) in Timehri.
In an effort to reduce traffic congestion for commuters on the East Bank of Demerara, which leads to the country’s main point of entry – the Cheddi Jagan International Airport, the previous People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC) regime was working on constructing an ‘East Coast to East Bank’ bypass road and sought funding from the Indian Government in 2015.
Meanwhile, plans to extend the bypass road all the way to Timehri will come under a second phase of the project. Erskine had revealed that sometime this year, the Public Infrastructure Ministry is hoping to move ahead with the design consultancy process.