A US$106.4 million contract was on Friday signed for the construction of the first phase of the East Coast Demerara (ECD) to East Bank Demerara (EBD) road linkage project.
At the signing ceremony which was held at the intersection of the Rupert Craig Highway and Ogle Road on the East Coast of Demerara, it was announced that an India-based construction company, Ashoka Buildcon Limited, will take on the project which is expected to be carried out over a 24-month period.
The first phase of the road is expected to be a four-lane highway that stretches some 7.8 kilometres, with which each lane will be 3.6 metres wide, even as the road will feature a median, sidewalks, and a number of structures along the way.
Senior Minister in the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance, Dr Ashni Singh, said this massive project is being supported through a concessional line of credit worth US$50 million from the Export-Import (Exim) Bank of India.
He related that the road is not a stand-alone project, as it cannot be seen in isolation from what is happening across the rest of the country.
“Each one of these projects must not be seen as stand-alone or isolated projects unconnected within an elaborate and comprehensive masterplan; an elaborate and comprehensive plan for the transformation of infrastructure across Guyana,” Dr Singh said.
The overarching infrastructural plan of the government is to improve connectivity not just within Guyana, but between the country and its geographic neighbours, Suriname and Brazil.
Minister of Public Works, Juan Edghill, in addressing the new road link and the wider plan to enhance connectivity across the country, said the project will create the foundation for there to be a number of connector roads that will bring this larger connection to fruition. The first phase will connect Ogle to Haags Bosch in Eccles, then farther into Diamond and subsequently to Timehri.
With this, the road will serve as a critical link from the Eugene F. Correia International Airport to the Cheddi Jagan International Airport at Timehri.
The construction of this important piece of infrastructure will also open up more lands for housing, agriculture, and industrial development.
“So, all Guyanese who are progressive in thinking, let’s talk to each other, let us converse, let us lock arms together to ensure the success of these projects for the benefit of all of us in Guyana,” Minister Edghill said.
The idea behind the new, transformative ECD-EBD road link was conceptualised by the People’s Progressive Party/Civic Government in 2014.
Minister within the Ministry of Public Works, Deodat Indar, said it was one of the projects that has been of major importance to the government since it was elected to office in August 2020.
He said that after just one week in government, President Dr Irfaan Ali had called a meeting to discuss the status of the project which was first conceptualised in 2014.
The High Commissioner of India to Guyana, Dr K. J. Srinivasa, said that the High Commission has been actively working with the government to execute various transformative projects. And he related that they will continue to work closely with the government to ensure that work continues successfully on several development partnership assistance projects.
Director of Ashoka Buildcon Limited, Ashish Kataria, said construction of the new road link will commence in August.