More than four years and after in excess of US$30M, the road to the Amaila Falls hydro-project is 93 percent
complete with just minor works left.
Speaking with Kaieteur News last week, Public Works Minister, Robeson Benn, disagreeing that the roads seemed to be taking forever, admitted that the multi-billion-dollar project which was marred by hiccups from the beginning, is practically finished.
“The last figures we have seen on activities on the road is that it is 93 per cent completed.”
The roads, 85 kilometers of existing ones, and 110 kilometes of new ones, included construction of 15 bridges.
After firing the original contractor, Synergy Holdings, back in January 2012, Government had divided the work into seven sections. It meant that the original US$15.4M tag price went up.
According to the Minister, there are some 28 miles of Section Six remaining and part of Section Three in which the contractors have to complete the laterite surfacing.
“The work by other contractors is basically finished. By the end of December, a large pontoon for the crossing from Section Two, Essequibo River at Butukari, is expected to be completed.”
At Kuribrong River which is below the Amaila Falls site, a decision has been taken to use a barge crossing instead of a bridge. A larger barge will be used to transport the large turbines for the dam will be available when the need arises, Benn said.
The roads are crucial to financial closure for the US$850M-plus project, but construction has been facing one delay after the next, not least the difficult terrain.
In late October, Public Works said that Section Seven which was taken from the local contractors and handed to China Railway First Group (Guyana) Inc, the company that has been slated to build the 840MW Hydro Electric Plant, was complete.
Back then, it was disclosed that Section Three which was contracted to Toolsie Persaud,
had a remaining 17 km of roadway left to pave with laterite, while the section contracted out to Ivor Allen Construction Company has an additional 11 km.
The road project was being undertaken in a number of segments, with the Ministry of Public Works assuming responsibility for ‘Section Two.’ That section runs along the Mabura Road to the Essequibo River and has a contract price of $336,094,861.
Section Three was allocated to Toolsie Persaud Quarries Inc. for $373.3M. That section of the Amaila Falls road stretches from Butukari to the Kaburi Village bypass.
The same company has also been awarded a contract for Section Four of the road for $246M.
Section Four runs from the Kaburi/Omai junction to the Issano bypass.
Ivor Allen was awarded the $182.3M contract for Section Five of the road that runs from the Issano junction to Craig Road.
Section Six of the road was awarded to G. Bovell Construction Services for $281.7M, but that contract had to be terminated.
It was subsequently granted in two lots, with the first from Issano Junction to Sorrow Hill being allocated to Ivor Allen for $145M. The second lot of Section Six was awarded to Dwarka Nauth for $45M.
Hassan N Pasha General Building and Civil Contractor was handed the last and reportedly the most difficult section of the road, ‘Section Seven’ with a contract price of $838M.
That contract was terminated in April 2012 after only 15 per cent of the work was completed.
Pasha had received almost $315M.
The contract was subsequently handed to China Railway First Group (Guyana) Inc. for $1.7B (US$8.5M).
Only recently Head of State, Donald Ramotar, announced that government would continue to vigorously pursue the mega project which, if undertaken, would be the largest such project in Guyana.
The project fell through after the Government failed to get the Opposition’s support in passing key legislations that were needed for financing.
The Opposition has been demanding answers how the monies for the hydro project will be spent in what will be Guyana’s most expensive project ever.
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