The Hope Canal which is being erected to ease the pressure of water on the East Demerara Conservancy may not be completed by its May 2013 deadline.
This is according to Agriculture Minister, Dr. Leslie Ramsammy, who stated, “At the pace they (the contractor, BK International) are going now, if they do not accelerate, it may be three months or so behind schedule.”
He made that revelation during a recent interview with this publication, during which he provided an update on the project.
Dr. Ramsammy noted that the project is 23 percent completed with works progressing on all four components of the project. They are the excavation of 10.3km long earthen channel from the East Demerara Water Conservancy to the coastal spill-off at the other end of the Canal; erecting a three-gated conservancy head regulator; building a bridge across the East Coast Public Road and the eight-gated high level outfall at the Atlantic end of the Canal.
“At the conservancy end, the contractor is working on the head regulator (that is the structure to release water). The canal is being dug, the dams are being constructed, works have started to build the bridge, and works are in ongoing to erect the sluice at the seawall,” he stated.
The project commenced in February 2011 and was expected to conclude in 18-months.
Dr Ramsammy asserted that originally, the excavation of the canal itself would have been concluded by December 2012 and the building of the bridges and other major aspects would have been done by May 2013.
The Canal is being constructed to ease the pressure of water on the Conservancy at times when it would have reached its maximum capacity. The areas of East Coast Demerara and West Berbice are flood-prone areas and are heavily affected by excessive rainfall, overflow of the Conservancy and rising sea levels.
The Ministry of Agriculture, through its National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA) has undertaken the excavation aspect of the project leaving the civil works to the three awarded contractors BK International, DIPCON Engineering and Courtney Benn Contracting Services.
Officials have said that the head regulator will release the waters of the conservancy into the canal and control the level and intensity of the release, based on the drainage needs at the time.
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