Jul 11, 2013 News
-Parliamentary body to visit site tomorrow
The multi-billion-dollar Hope/Dochfour Northern Relief Channel is likely to become functional by the next rainy season (December to January).
This was according to Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Leslie Ramsammy, who, said that the project is about 50 percent complete. Only the least difficult works are ongoing, he added.
“The most difficult part of the project is completed. The 50 percent remaining is easy work that won’t take very long to complete.”
The contract for this project, one of the largest infrastructure initiatives in Guyana’s history, is about $3.204B, with $2.395B disbursed thus far, the Minister said. He added that he does not anticipate spending anything more than the contracted price.
The project has four major parts, with the first being the excavation of the 10.3km long earthen channel from the East Demerara Water Conservancy to the coastal spill off at the other end of the Canal which is about 80 percent completed. The actual excavation was done, and the process of shaping the dam is currently ongoing.
The other three parts of the project are the civil works – a three-gated conservancy head regulator; a bridge across the East Coast Public Road, almost half of which is completed; and an eight-gated high level outfall at the Atlantic end of the Canal which, the Minister said, “is a little behind”.
The Ministry of Agriculture, through its National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA), is doing the excavation aspect of the project leaving, the civil works to the three awarded contractors -BK International, DIPCON Engineering, and Courtney Benn Contracting Services.
The channel is being constructed to ease the pressure of water on the Conservancy at times when it reaches its maximum capacity.
This venture was undertaken by the former Minister of Agriculture Robert Persaud who estimated an 18-month completion, when construction commenced in February 2011. During late last year, Dr Ramsammy, who took over the post of being Minister of Agriculture, announced an extended completion date– June 2013. This is now July, and the project is about a year behind the original deadline.
Nonetheless, the Minister has said that despite what persons may think, the project is one that will be able to withstand major floods, should they occur.
“These components have a solid foundation,” the Minister said, adding that the outfall has a foundation that goes firmly about 100 feet down, while the Sluice alone called for more piles than the country used in the whole of 1990.
Meanwhile, a Parliamentary body is expected to visit the construction site sometime tomorrow, Friday.
Dr Ramsammy said that there will be a presentation detailing the different aspects of the project, after which there will be a tour.
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