Berbice River Bridge access roads to be completed by April

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WORK Services Group Coordinator Mr. Rickford Lowe has said the access roads to the Berbice River Bridge are set for completion in April this year.

He pointed out at a recent press briefing that both the construction of the bridge and access roads were expected to be completed simultaneously but the bridge had a head start by some eight months.

“The road project was always expected to be a difficult and complicated project, given the ground conditions and frequent high tides. Additional problems included serious shortages of materials and inclement weather, Mr. Lowe told reporters.

The US$ 9.4 M project, which was opened to light traffic at the official opening of the Berbice River Bridge last month, is being financed by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

Mr. Lowe also said the Ministry of Public Works and Communications (MPW&C) is awaiting government’s acceptance of the pre-feasibility report on the Linden-Lethem road to proceed with an in-depth study.

In the interim, he said, works are completed by the Brazilian government on the construction of the Takutu Bridge and construction re-commenced on the access roads on the Guyana side of the structure.

Government also substantially completed construction of a multi-purpose complex for border crossing operations and has received bids for the execution of bi-lingual traffic signs at key locations along the corridor.

Transport Infrastructure Rehabilitation Programme (TIRP)

This US$27 M funded IDB project primarily entails the reconstruction of the remaining bridges and culverts from Timehri to Rosignol.

Mr. Lowe reported that the phase one of TIRP was completed in 2007 and designs and bid documents were finished in August last year, but was delayed pending a review of the designs by the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA).

“MPW&C will be attempting to reduce construction time and traffic congestion by constructing pre-cast culverts,” he said.

The Work Services Group Coordinator also noted that the TIRP loan provides for the rehabilitation of the Black Bush Polder road.

Feasibility studies for that initiative have been completed, the designs commenced and construction is expected to commence in the second half of 2009.

He said under TIRP, the MPW&C Traffic Safe programme and interventions will continue this year and include the following:

* installation of street lighting along the East Bank Public Road;

* installation of signs and road markings throughout the roads network, with special emphasis on critical areas on the East Bank and East Coast public roads;

* widening of roadways, wherever possible, at signalised intersections in the city; and

* procurement of tools and equipment for the maintenance of traffic lights and street lighting.

New Amsterdam to Moleson Creek Project
This IDB projects is funded to the tune of US$30M and is sub-divided in Lot One which stretches from the New Amsterdam Ferry to Number 36 Village and Lot Two from Number 36 Village to Moleson Creek.

Work on Lot One, he said, started in July 2006, and was scheduled for completion in December; but the contractor, who was also involved in the construction of the Berbice River Bridge, was asked to divert all resources for the bridge project.

Mr. Lowe disclosed that the Public Works Ministry is considering extending the US$18.9M project and pointed out that work on Lot Two is some 25 per cent complete after that initiative commenced in March last year.

He said the MPW&C will continue to maintain and improve transport infrastructure and will complete:

* bridges rehabilitation from Timehri to Rosignol;

* the rehabilitation of the New Amsterdam to Moleson Creek road;

* feasibility studies for an improved Linden –Lethem road; and

* negotiations with the IDB for new road projects.

Mr. Lowe stressed, too, that the Work Services Group will continue to assert ownership of the road reserves and will vigorously move against illegal occupation.

“ I would like to further advise the owners and operators of large equipment and vehicles that a weight control programme will be accelerated by law in an effort to protect the structural integrity of the roads and minimise the destruction being caused by overweight vehicles,” he informed reporters.