–remedial works planned for streets used during construction phase for diversion of traffic
ONE of the main connectors to Georgetown– Hunter Street, West Ruimveldt– was reopened on Tuesday after contractor, Vieira 66 Logistics, wrapped up upgrades to the former double lane road and transformed it into a major thoroughfare with three lanes.
Speaking during a ceremonial function to officially reopen the road, Minister of Public Works, Bishop Juan Edghill, said the expeditious completion of the project confirmed that the decisions and actions of authorities were correct.
After encountering issues with the initial contractor for the project, Surrey Paving, authorities decided to rescind the contract and hand the project to Vieira 66 Logistics for a cost of $99 million.
Minister Edghill said there was no cost overruns although the contractor had to do additional work on the thoroughfare.
Further, the minister related that the entire cost of the project will be over $150 million since safety barriers, signs, and road markings have to be added.
Additionally, the drains running parallel to the road will be covered with grillwork and safety barriers will be installed to ensure there is safer use of the thoroughfare.
Even the pedestrian walkway was designed in a manner to ensure that no one utilising this space comes into contact with vehicles on the roadway.
The space between the road and the walkway, he said, will be planted with grass and will be maintained as a green space, to separate vehicles from pedestrians.
“We would like to thank the residents and people of the community for their patience. I came as minister and listened to your complaints, your inability to access your own yards, piling up of mud and flooding because things were not going right; thank you for your patience and understanding and today we have that fixed,” Minister Edghill said.
He added that installation of street lights has already commenced along Hunter Street, and this will also benefit residents of the area.
Noting that other streets were worn out because of the diversion of traffic, Minister Edghill said officers of the Ministry of Public Works’ Force Account Unit will, within the next week, visit the areas and complete remedial work.
The minister said when the decision was made to convert the thoroughfare into a three-lane road, the traffic department of the Guyana Police Force quickly supported the idea because they saw it as a necessity given the usual buildup of traffic along the East Bank of Demerara corridor.
“I would like to ask for this road to be used with care and caution and that you ensure the safety of yourselves and vehicular users, as well as those who will be crossing and using this road as pedestrians and cyclist,” Minister Edghill appealed.
In recognition of the work done on the road, the minister complimented Vieira 66 Logistics, noting that although the company did not have prior experience, they delivered.
“I am inviting contractors who felt that they didn’t have a chance before to come on board. Nobody in Guyana has a monopoly on road construction or sea defences or building construction, Guyana is open for the participation of all Guyanese. So contractors, get the best engineers, hire the best team, provide proper management and let us get on board and widen the pool that can be used for Guyana’s development,” Minister Edghill said.
He noted that if funding becomes available immediately for the fixing of all the roads in Guyana, the country does not have sufficient contractors to get the work done, so there is need for capacity building. “We have to develop local capacity and without apology, the PPP/C administration will continue to facilitate the development of local capacity so that our local people can participate and benefit from Guyana’s modernisation and transformation projects.
“To those who will question when will we do your road, my simple answer is: your turn is next,” the minister said.
Meanwhile, Traffic Chief, Senior Superintendent, Ramesh Ashram, said the new road is a testimony of the government’s commitment to constructing and upgrading roads to reduce traffic congestion, especially across Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica).
He said the new road will significantly ease the traffic congestion on the East Bank of Demerara corridor, something which the police’s traffic department looks forward to. “In the mornings, we will have a two-lane proceeding north, that is for vehicles coming from the East Bank and in the afternoons, it will be the reverse. This will be highlighted in the print and electronic media to sensitise the public on the new traffic arrangement,” he said.
The Traffic Chief said that the speed limit for the road is 50 kilometers per hour. In saying this, he also reminded drivers to observe the five C’s when driving.
City Engineer, Colvern Venture, thanked the Public Works Ministry for repairing the road, but noted that the diversion of traffic through Alexander Village and West Ruimveldt has resulted in the deterioration of those roads. “I know we will be working in collaboration with the ministry in having those roads repaired and we will see much more improvement, and this is a good initiative coming from the central government in terms of improving transportation generally in our country,” Venture said. He continued: “On behalf of the Mayor and the Council of the City of Georgetown and also on behalf of the City Engineer’s Department, we want to thank the Ministry of Public Works and, by extension, the central government for the assistance they have given us in terms of improving infrastructural works with roads in the city.”