US$190M contract signed for construction of Linden-to-Mabura Road
Connectivity to major hinterland communities from Georgetown, as well as between Guyana and Brazil will soon be made easier with the construction of the Linden-to-Mabura Hill Road.
The US$190 million contract was signed on Friday with Brazilian company Construtora Queiroz Galvao S.A. for the construction of the 121-kilometre road. In addition to the contract-signing, a sod-turning ceremony was held at the Wisroc Junction in Linden, marking the starting point of the road construction process.
The project is being funded by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) via a US$112 million loan, a grant to the tune of £50 million (US$66 million) from the United Kingdom under the Caribbean Infrastructure Partnership Fund (CIPF), and an input of US$12 million from the Guyana Government.
With a 7.2-metre-wide carriageway, the Linden-to-Mabura Road will feature a cycle and pedestrian lane measuring 2 metres wide, along with 10 bus stops outfitted with ramps for persons with disabilities. Additionally, a number of bridges and culverts along the way will be replaced, and some 123 lights would be installed.
Speaking at the ceremony on Friday, Public Works Minister Juan Edghill described this road to be constructed as one of the most transformative projects to bring about the transformation of the country.
“When we map out as a Government, and we look at Guyana’s development, there were certain things that we knew we must do. One, we must be able to get a direct link from Linden into Lethem and across the Takutu [Bridge], so that we could have access to the markets in northern Brazil…and eventually into all of South America, because of the road connectivity that exists there,” he stated.
Edghill noted that construction of this road has been on the front burner since the commissioning of the Takutu Bridge. He added that as a further commitment of the Dr Irfaan Ali-led administration to this major connectivity, some $3 billion has been allocated in the 2022 Budget for the construction of 32 bridges along the Linden-to-Lethem Road.
Regarding the construction of a bridge across the Kurupukari crossing, which forms part of the trail, the Public Works Minister has said there are several options being considered by the Government.
Meanwhile, Senior Minister with Responsibility for Finance, Dr Ashni Singh, delivering the feature address at the ceremony, re-emphasised that Government continues to work diligently and tirelessly to transform the economic and physical landscape of Guyana, and this catalytic road project is another demonstration of the Government’s commitment to expediting this transformation.
“This project is part of a much wider and more comprehensive plan… We want you to be able to ultimately drive from Paramaribo to Corriverton, to Georgetown, to Linden, to Lethem, to Bon Fim, to Boa Vista and beyond. Not just as a joyride, but our vision for Guyana is one where, if you are a farmer producing produce in Linden, you must be able to load up your produce and drive unimpeded to Lethem to sell it.”
According to Dr Singh, the same goes for any other sector, including the manufacturing industry in Guyana.
The Senior Finance Minister recalled the rigorous process in mobilising resources for this project. “It wasn’t easy to get here,” he posited.
On the other hand, British High Commissioner to Guyana, Jane Miller, explained that funding for this Linden-to-Mabura Hill Road is part of the £300 million UK CIPF initiative from which eight countries, including Guyana, have benefited from funding for climate-resilient projects.
“[This] is the biggest project within the Caribbean Infrastructure Partnership Fund. It is also the biggest project within the Caribbean Development Bank,” she stated.
Having traversed the current Linden-to-Lethem trail several times, the British envoy underscored the ease of travel that this road will bring when it is completed.
“I don’t need to tell you how transformative turning that into an all-weather will be. And that is the reason why this project has been chosen. So, the Caribbean Development Bank, with the Caribbean Infrastructure Partnership Fund, is looking to find projects which are going to be economically transformative, but also those that promote climate resilience. And for this road, we all know that this needs to be a climate-resilient road,” Miller noted.
She added that the road will also be economically transformative for sectors such as mining and forestry, as well as provide easy access for hinterland communities, thus improving social lives.
Meanwhile, Minister within the Ministry of Public Works, Deodat Indar, in brief remarks, reminded that this project was conceptualised under the previous People’s Progressive Party/Civic Government, and further reiterated the administration’s commitment to finishing the entire project from Mabura Hill to Lethem.
Also attending the ceremony were the Chief Executive Officer of GO-Invest, Dr Peter Ramsaroop and leaders of Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice).
The Linden-to-Mabura Road forms part of the Government’s transport infrastructure integrated development plan, which includes a new high-span bridge across the Demerara River and the bridge across the Corentyne River linking Guyana and Suriname. The development of this all-weather road will bolster trade and commerce to unlock the vast opportunities in linking Guyana with Brazil. The improved road network will also support ease of travel, the transport of goods, and the provision of services between hinterland communities and Georgetown.
This project is the first link of the highway between Linden and Lethem, and is the first segment of the approximately 450-kilometre roadway.
In February last, the Caribbean Development Bank issued its no-objection for negotiations to commence, with the most responsive bidder, Construtora Queiroz Galvao S.A. from Brazil, being awarded the contract for the upgrading of the road.
Ten contractors were prequalified, and after a thorough evaluation process, the Brazilian company was found to be the most responsive bid, indicating full compliance with all environmental, social, health and safety requirements.
Construtora Queiroz Galvao S.A is a large Brazilian Contractor, established in 1966 and specialising in the construction of refineries, roads, bridges, commercial offices, residential buildings, highways and sewage systems worldwide.