Nov 24, 2016 News
The East Coast Demerara Highway expansion project which began in 2011 but came to a halt will continue thanks to a US$46M financial injection made possible through a line of credit agreement between the government of Guyana and the China Exim Bank.
The financing came one step closer to being realised yesterday when Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan, on behalf of the government signed a framework agreement with the Chinese government represented by China’s outgoing Ambassador to Guyana, Zhang Limin, at the Ministry of Finance boardroom.
The ambassador who has been working in Guyana for the past four years said that he was elated to be able to sign such an important agreement before departing. He said that discussions for the project had begun three years ago and he is happy that it has been finalised.
Ambassador Zhang said that outside of financing infrastructure development in Guyana in this way, he has also approached the Minister of Agriculture, Noel Holder, to ascertain ways in which the Chinese government can contribute to that sector.
Minister Jordan, said that the project will entail the widening of a section of the main thoroughfare between Better Hope and Belfield villages. The completion of the project is expected to improve the link between numerous highly populated villages along the coast and Georgetown.
He said, “Some of the immediate effects to be accrued as a result of this intervention include reduced travel time, reduced traffic congestion, reduced vehicular maintenance and reduced accident rates.”
More importantly, Jordan said that the widened and improved highway will facilitate the efficient movement of goods and people between highly populated regions in the country, thereby strengthening the link between agricultural producers and consumers.
According to the Finance Minister this agreement is just another example of the cooperation between the two governments. “Some examples of China’s economic cooperation in Guyana, where concessional loans have been provided are the Guyana Power and Light Transmission and Distribution Infrastructure Development Project, the E-Government project and the Cheddi Jagan International Airport Extension project which is on-going.”
He said that other projects which were made possible through grant financing include the acquisition of ferry vessels, One Laptop per Teacher Project, fire fighting equipment for the Guyana Fire Service and the Construction and Equipping of the Arthur Chung Conference Centre.
The Minister said that the contract to complete the road works was signed with China Railway First Group Company Limited in on August 27, 2014.
The widening of the highway will create four lanes from Better Hope, where the present four lane stops, to Annandale village. From there to Belfield the two lane road will undergo an upgrade.
Work is expected to begin in the first quarter of 2017 and should be completed within 18 months.
The initial work on the highway project which began in 2011 was fully funded by the government of Guyana whereby approximately $2.7B was expended.
According to the programme for the highway improvement project, the civil works will include road construction which will entail excavation for road widening, placement and compaction of sub base and base layers with white sand and white sand clay and paving with asphaltic concrete.
The works will also include the widening and construction of bridges and culverts, construction of reinforced concrete drains and sidewalks, installation of street lights, traffic lights, road signs and road markings.
Utilities belonging to the Guyana Power and Light, the Guyana Water Incorporated and the Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company will be relocated from within the limits of construction.
The total length of road to be rehabilitated is some 17 kilometers. The four-lane widening will be a total of 7,400 meters and the two lane upgrade will be a total length of 9,598 meters.
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