WITH works progressing nicely on the Mandela Avenue-Eccles aspect of the East Coast to East Bank Demerara bypass road, the Ministry of Housing and Water has moved ahead to issue bids for another section of the project, the road from Eccles to Diamond, East Bank Demerara.
According to the bid document, which was recently published in the Guyana Chronicle newspaper, the second set of works on the four-lane highway will be divided into 12 lots, with construction expected to last for a period of 15 months per lot. Bidders who have the opportunity to bid for any or all of the lots, have until November 4 to make their submissions.
Meanwhile, the first aspect of the project, which runs from Mandela Avenue, Georgetown to Eccles, East Bank Demerara highway, is approximately 45 per cent complete, and on course to achieving its year-end deadline, according to Minister of Housing and Water, Collin Croal.
Croal recently informed the Guyana Chronicle that that works on bridges and other critical infrastructure are almost complete. And despite the inconveniences caused by inclement weather during the months of May, June and July, contractors were able to stay on par with their schedule.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA), Sherwyn Greaves had previously highlighted that the Mandela-Eccles thoroughfare is poised to become the first fully-concreted four-lane highway in the country. Works on this aspect of the project commenced in April of this year.
Once completed, the East Coast to East Bank bypass road will facilitate a number of alternative routes to the country’s main entry and exit point, the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA).
Additionally, the new road will alleviate the often overwhelming traffic congestion that plagues the East Bank of Demerara. Commuters are also expected to benefit from further relief, once a spanking new Demerara Harbour Bridge is constructed; this will also feed into a number of inter-connecting roads that will be linked to the main East Bank Demerara Public Road as well as the East Coast Demerara Highway.
President Dr. Irfaan Ali had said that in addition to alleviating traffic woes, the new roads, accompanied by a new harbour bridge, will also lend to the modernisation of the East Bank Demerara corridor.
The Head of State, during a recent assessment visit to sections of the bypass road, hinted at the strategic establishment and placement of a government hub which would boast of a new school, as well as outposts for the Guyana Police Force, the Guyana Defence Force, the Guyana Fire Service, and an Emergency Medical Services unit.
“This is part of the infrastructure transformation and integration of communities, because, now Diamond, Prospect, Eccles, Herstelling, Covent Garden, Mocha all these communities will be integrated,” Dr. Ali explained.
Based on the president’s vision, the East Bank highway will also boast a modernised and technologically-advanced security system which would include the erection of police towers and a “Wi-Fi system connected to cameras which would automatically ticket drivers”.
“We will have tower-to-tower connection, so if someone is speeding at Tower One, that person would be caught on camera, and can be stopped by police at Tower Two. We need to look at smarter, safer and more modern ways going forward,” President Ali noted.
A transformed East Bank Demerara corridor also feeds into the president’s vision of ‘Silica City’, which is the concept of a secondary city he first introduced in 2013 while holding the position of Minister of Housing and Water during the previous tenure of the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) government.
This new hub was projected to be developed along the Soesdyke-Linden Highway. As an incentive to entice potential homeowners, the then Minister Ali, at a Building Expo, had announced that all those who had received their acknowledgment letters for house lots, and are willing to accept spots along the highway at Silica City, would have had their applications “processed immediately”.
Fast-forward to 2021, the now President Ali remains adamant that ‘Silica City’ is the avenue to ensure sustainable housing and urbanisation in Guyana. As a matter of fact, on the eve of Guyana’s 55th Independence Anniversary, Dr. Ali reiterated his intentions for the new city.
“We need to build new communities further [sic] inland to spread our population; reduce prices for land and housing, and cease traffic congestion. We must use the land space with which we have been blessed to create new and improved living conditions; new areas of growth and development, and new population centres,” Dr. Ali said during the pre-Independence Day observance.
During his recent visit to the United States for the 76th United Nations’ General Assembly, President Ali said that he was pleased that his vision for the secondary city did not escape the attention of international players. As a matter of fact, the president said that he and his high-level delegation were even presented with a conceptual design of what the new city could possibly look like, and what it could entail.
“Sometimes, in Guyana, when I speak about the new city, you get the impression from the media that this is a fairy-tale land,” President Ali reflected. He said, however, that on the international stage, investors are “hungry” to invest in the new city.
Moreover, with Guyana also poised for massive transformational development, many observers have reiterated the need for the country to “look the part”, and for major investments to be directed towards infrastructural advancements and modernisation.