Street lamps to be installed before rehabilitation

Soesdyke-Linden Highway

While commuters and residents traversing the Soesdyke-Linden Highway have welcomed the news that street lights will be installed along the dark roadway, they are questioning the rationale behind the installation since the rehabilitation highway will commence shortly.
Some residents reached out to this publication on Tuesday labelling the move as “placing the cart before the horse.”
A senior official close to the project told Guyana Times that a meeting was recently held at one of the communities along the highway where villagers were enlightened on the Ministry’s plan but questioned the logic.
The official, who has experience in the engineering field, told this publication that residents expressed concern about the project as the much-anticipated street lights may just be wasted after rehabilitation works are completed to the dilapidating highway.
The project, dubbed the “Soesdyke-Linden Highway Rehabilitation Design” commenced on January 15, 2019, with site visits among others.
The scope of works includes the rehabilitation of over 70km of the two-lane road from the Soesdyke Junction to the Wismar Bridge. Nine multi-span bridges and six culvert roads will be evaluated while design with replacements will be added to those in need. A road safety audit, an axle load survey and weight control programme will be undertaken during the period.
It will also see a technical and economic feasibility report being prepared along with an environmental and social impact assessment.
Several calls made to the Public Infrastructure Minister, David Patterson, went unanswered.
The dark and deplorable highway has been prone to major accidents.
Guyana Times recently visited Linden and observed that vehicles were swerving in out of their respective lanes to avoid potholes.
Also notable, was the lack of road markings. Drivers complained of having to use high-beam lights to get through the road at nights, which in turn affects the vision of other drivers. The road is, however, much more challenging to those who are unfamiliar with it.
Back in 2017, the then Linden Mayor, Carwyn Holland, told the media that the project was pegged at $40 million.
He added that there have been calls for lights along the highway for many years, as he pointed out that the projects do not fall under the municipality of the Linden Mayor and Town Council but through the Regional Democratic Council (RDC).
The upgrade of the highway was initially expected to be carried out in 2017, however, this did not happen.
At the beginning of the year, a young man lost his life while another barely escaped with a broken foot as a speeding car struck the two without stopping to render any assistance.
Such accidents are no stranger to the dangerous highway as several other innocent lives have been snatched in similar occurrences.
In one instance, a mother and son were killed while three other family members were listed as critical following an accident on the Soesdyke-Linden Highway. Subsequently, two women were killed in a bus shed while awaiting transportation.
In another incident, the body of an unidentified man suspected to be the victim of a hit-and-run accident was found along the Loo Creek, Linden-Soesdyke Highway.