May 11, 2017 News
Works on the East Coast Demerara Expansion Project were expected to commence on April last however, the contractor is yet to submit the required bonds.
Permanent Secretary (PS) of the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, Geoffrey Vaughn, told Kaieteur News that the Chinese Contractor, China Railway First Group Limited, is yet to submit the funds which are needed before the contractor begins the mobilisation phase.
The funding for the project was made available by the former Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China, Zhang Limin, through the inking of a Framework Agreement for a concessional loan from the Export-Import Bank of China for the widening and improvement of the thoroughfare between Better Hope and Belfield.
Some of the immediate benefits to be accrued from this intervention include reduced travel time, traffic congestion, vehicular maintenance and accidents.
The project is also expected to enhance local and inter-regional trade since a significant part of Guyana’s economic activities rely on this thoroughfare.
The first phase of the project began some time in 2012 and concluded in 2015. These works were regarded as “preparatory works” which were executed to the tune of $500M.
That phase of the project was tainted by the findings of the Auditor General for the years 2014 and 2015. The reports showed that a number of overpayments were made to the phase one contractors, under the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) government.
Vaughn said yesterday that the Ministry is optimistic that works will commence soon. However, he could not provide a definite time. No monies have been disbursed to the contractor, he said.
West Demerara Road Expansion Project
Meanwhile, works on the US$42M West Demerara Road Expansion is moving apace. The works remain at between 60 and 65 percent complete as was reported one month ago.
Vaughn pointed out that the works do not just include paving, but also includes the construction of drains, the removal of utilities and the replacement of structures.
He noted also that several parts of Hydronie and some villages located east of Parika have already been paved however, as the contractor continues to move east into the heavily populated areas, the challenges have emerged.
The primary challenge Vaughn said, is the lack of alternative routes. He said that works have to be carried out while the road is being used by commuters. He however noted that safety measures have intensified due to this.
He said that the contractors are working assiduously to complete the project by the deadline, approximately seven months from now.
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