Superior compaction technology being used on Ogle-to-Eccles Bypass Road
…Public Works Minister says works advancing after site visit
Works are advancing on the highly anticipated four-lane bypass road that will link the East Coast of Demerara corridor at Ogle directly to the East Bank Demerara corridor at Eccles.
This is according Public Works Minister Juan Edghill after a site visit on Friday to inspect ongoing works on the major road link project.
Minister Edghill told Guyana Times that works are ongoing from both ends, that is, at Ogle and at Eccles.
Describing the bypass road as a ‘green field project’, the Public Works Minister explained that majority sections of this road are being built on virgin lands, hence, the works ongoing include clearing of the alignment, grubbing works, taking out the sap and sand filling and draining the area to prepare the foundation required to build the road.
According to Edghill, during Friday’s visit, he had the opportunity to examine the technology that is being used by the contractor, India-based Ashoka Buildcon Limited, for the compaction.
“They are putting a special fabric to ensure that the water is drained so that we could be able to achieve a particular compaction and height of the road. So, we had an opportunity to see that,” the Public Works Minister informed this newspaper.
He added, “Both the contractor and the consultant seem to have a clear understanding of what they’re doing so that we could get this road in a timely manner… We are satisfied that work is moving and the pace is picking up… We’re not in any jeopardy where time is concern.”
RITES Limited, also out of India, secured the US$3.2 million contract for the provision of supervisory services for this bypass project. Since the road construction is being financed by the EXIM Bank of India, it is a condition that companies from that country execute the various types of works, with assistance/support from local firms.
RITES, an engineering consultancy company, had conducted a 10-month design consultancy, which produced a Detailed Project Report (DPR) outlining the draft final design of the bypass road and recommended a four-lane highway as most feasible.
Back in 2015, the Indian Government had provided the US$50 million credit line for the road link that was initially slated for Ogle to Diamond, EBD. 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 current People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Administration took office in 2020, it redesigned the project into two phases to fit the LOC – first from Ogle to Haags Bosch road in Eccles, which is about 48-50 per cent of the project, and then from Eccles to Diamond – in order to fit the US$50 million LOC.
The Guyana Government will be undertaking the extension from Diamond all the way to Timehri where the country’s main port of entry, the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA), is located.
It was announced in January 2022 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.
When the US$106 million contract was signed between the Guyana Government and Ashoka in June 2022, the contractor had reassured of delivering the project within the stipulated 24-month timeline.
This project will see the construction of some 7.8 kilometres of road from the East Coast to the East Bank with each of the four lanes being 3.6 metres wide. The highway will also feature a median in the middle and sidewalks as well as several connector roads, especially at the East Bank end to allow for further diversion of traffic.
Asked whether any challenges were raised by the contractor during his site visit on Friday, Minister Edghill told Guyana Times that the only issue that the project is facing has to do with its design.
At the time when the project was conceptualised and designed, it was connecting to the ECD corridor through the railway and embankment, which is a two-land road. However, with the Guyana Government now upgrading that road to a four-lane, discussions are being held on how to connect the bypass road with the upgraded railway and embankment.
“[We have to resolve] how we make that connection – whether by use of a roundabout or turning lanes with traffic signals and the space available. Those are some of things that are being discussed [by the Public Works Ministry and the contractor/consultant],” Minister Edghill related.
Nevertheless, he assured that these changes will not impact the cost of the bypass road project. (G8)