The Ministry of Public Infrastructure is preparing to start advertising for expressions of interests (EoI) for the Linden/Lethem road.
According to Minister David Patterson, the construction of the roadway will soon materialize.
He made the disclosure on Thursday during a presentation to Amerindian leaders during the annual Toshaos’ conference.
“The Minister explained that several feasibility studies were undertaken to determine how viable the project was. These studies concluded that very few persons were living along the perspective corridor, therefore meaning that the project was not feasible,” the ministry said in statement. He said that about three years ago a British leader reached out to Guyana, noting that he believed the country was “losing touch” with its former leaders. He offered the region a grant of $53M pounds sterling which translated at that time to about US$75M.
“I was asked what will I do with it… A grant being free money, I said let us start the Linden/Lethem Road,” he said.
Patterson said he believes in bridging the gap between the hinterland and coastland and sees this as a possibility.
A Toshao at the Conference said he believes the project will prove to be a success.
He pointed to “rapid growth” in Lethem, Region 9, which was without proper roads.
The Minister said he was told that the project would cost much more than the money allocated.
An additional US$75M was borrowed from the Central Development Bank (CDB) to kick-start the works.
The sum of money, according to Minister Patterson, will fund the first phase of the road which is from Linden to Mabura, spanning about 125 kilometers of road.
Also included in Phase One is a bridge across the Kurupukari Settlement which currently can only be crossed using a vessel.
So far, the designs for the road have been completed and in the next two weeks’ time contractors from both local and international firms will be able to submit expressions of interest for prequalification.
The road construction has been in the making for decades now.
The Brazilians were supposed to assist in the construction but there has been little progress in that direction.
While the British has committed funds, it has not approved them yet for the construction.
The road is a critical link to many hinterland villages as well as mining and logging concessions.
Brazil wants to use the roadway to access Guyana ports which is closer to ocean than what is available in certain parts of that neighbouring country.
However, the roadway has been a major problem in the rainy season, halting mining and logging for weeks on end.
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