For months, residents and commuters who use the four-lane East Bank Demerara highway have complained about the lack of working lights, especially when passing through the communities of Providence, Farm, Herstelling, Prospect and Covent Garden.
Kaieteur News had published an article on this exact issue on October 29, 2016 more than one month ago, and from all indications there has been no change to the situation which continues to be a cause of concern for motorists particularly.
One bus driver who traverses that stretch of road daily said yesterday that not having the lights has created a dangerous situation, whereby visibility while driving is considerably decreased. This he said, increases the chances for the occurrence of accidents on both the eastern and western carriageways.
He said that this is particularly an issue since his job causes him to be driving at the dead of night, which raises security concerns. According to him, the situation has existed for far too long and it seems as though nothing is being done to address it by the relevant authorities.
Since the problem has persisted, Kaieteur News contacted Senior Electrical Engineer within the Ministry of Public Infrastructure Terrence O’Brien yesterday to get a clearer picture with respect to the reasons for the existing situation and when it is expected that the problem will be rectified.
He said that the stretch of road had been contracted to BK International Inc. Further, O’Brien said that the company is in the process of importing two transformers necessary to complete the circuit. However, until this happens, according to O’Brien, the Ministry will be moving ahead to temporarily install two 25 kilo volt ampere transformers. He said that the two units have been acquired and tested at the Guyana Power and Light’s Sophia location.
When Minister of Public Infrastructure David Patterson was contacted yesterday he said that the transformers have been tested and will be installed by GPL in a couple of days.
According to O’Brien, the installation of the transformers is being scheduled to happen in time for the arrival of Prince Harry this evening.
He said that prior to this installation, GPL would on certain occasions interfere with the circuit and supply power to it but only temporarily, which would explain why on some occasions the lights are on and at another time, off.
O’Brien said that the Minister has spoken with the top officials at GPL to have the Transmission and Distribution (T&D) department uplift the transformers and install them. He said that the Minister has already spoken to Chief Executive Officer of GPL Renford Homer and Deputy CEO Elwyn Marshall to ensure all goes according to plan.
According to O’Brien, this gesture is being extended until BK International can import the transformers they have to install, according to the contract for the roadway. BK was paid US$3.5M to complete works along the roadway with a length of 1.20km between Prospect and Great Diamond. This was completed in June 2015.
According to sources familiar with the project, initially the company had installed transformers but this was done without lightning arresters. As a result of this, the transformers were damaged during a lightning storm.
Kaieteur News tried to speak with Chief Engineer at BK Leon Goring yesterday, but he said that he was engaged in a meeting at the time. When this publication had contacted Goring last month, he said that the company was in the process of replacing a pair of light poles which were damaged as a result of separate vehicular accidents.
In addition to the new poles, Goring had said that the company was also procuring the requisite arms to be attached to the poles so that the new lights can be installed.
On that same day, when this newspaper spoke to Terrence O’Brien, he informed that the lights on the road were not commissioned as yet and as such the Ministry could still move to use the warranty to have any defect remedied.
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