Construction of the Hope Canal is moving apace and is expected to meet its June 2013 deadline despite constant intermittent showers on the East Coast Demerara, says Lionel Wordsworth, Chief Executive Officer of National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA).
Wordsworth related that as of this week all four components of the project are on schedule, even though the rains have slowed excavation of a section of the channel being created from the conservancy to the sea defence.
Of the 10.3 kilometer (km) channel being created, a total of 6.6 km has been dug. The remaining 3.3 km is being excavated by NDIA. He said that excavation in this section (between the conservancy dam and crown dam) is challenging owing to swampy conditions.
A release from the Ministry of Agriculture on Saturday stated that the Ministry does not contemplate difficulties in the timely completion of the channel together with its associated structures such as the dams.
The construction of the Public Road Bridge is the responsibility of DIPCON Engineering Services Ltd. According to the release, Agriculture Minister, Leslie Ramsammy, urged the contractor to ensure that work is done within the stipulated timeframe.
Major activity at this site is the driving of pre-cast, pre-stressed concrete piles. These piles are constructed at DIPCON’s Pre-Stressed Casting Yard at Onverwagt, West Coast Berbice.
The construction of the High level Outfall Sluice Structure at the Atlantic Ocean end (North of the Hope Secondary School) is the responsibility of Courtney Benn Contracting Services Ltd.
This component requires a large number of piles. One of the constraints being faced is the availability of these piles because of their huge demand in the construction industry.
As such, the Ministry and Forestry Commission are working to ensure the timely availability of piles so as not to delay the construction of the High Level Sluice.
BK International Incorporated is responsible for the construction of the head regulator on the East Demerara Water Conservancy to link the Channel. Construction is challenged by the weather, difficulties to access working site and also the availability of piles.
According to Wordsworth, when the Hope Canal, which will be the northern relief channel, is completed it will allow excess water from the conservancy to flow to the Atlantic Ocean.
“The Hope Canal will relieve or drain excess water accumulated during the rainy season from the conservancy. This excess water comes when we have intense rainfall for long period,” he said.
He explained that currently to prevent the conservancy from collapsing and protect the coastline, the eastern canals’ (Lamaha and Maduni) gates are opened. Consequently, Mahaica, Mahaicony and Abary areas are flooded. These areas are known for farming.
Every rainy season, farmers complain of the absence of alternative drainage, which results in them incurring millions of dollars in losses.
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