KINGSTON - Several key roads and bridges projects, all aimed at alleviating much of the current traffic bottlenecks across the country will be undertaken this year under a carefully thought out budgetary allocation. Out of the total $13.7 billion allocation, the sum of $12.9 billion will be spent on roads and $844.2 million on bridges.
“Government recognises that investment in physical infrastructure remains a critical prerequisite to accelerated economic development given the existing infrastructure gaps,” Finance Minister Dr. Ashni Singh said during the Budget presentation on Monday, March 24, 2014.
He alluded to the fact that improved linkages with neighbouring countries, within the country’s own borders, between producers and consumers, across and within communities, all lend themselves to improved competitiveness and connectedness.
According to Minister Singh the four -lane access road to the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) and the East Bank Demerara four-lane highway are slated for completion this year.
Further works will commence on the West Coast Demerara Road and will include pavement rehabilitation, pedestrian and cycle lanes in selected high traffic areas, and street lighting.
The Finance Minister pointed out that provisions have also been made for the widening of the East Coast Highway, and road reconstruction works for the upgrading of Better Hope to Belfield will commence.
Construction of the Parika/Ruby Backdam roads will begin, thus opening up access to over 330 farming households and over 2,000 acres of mixed crop farming.
Minister Singh also announced that engineering designs for the Canal Polder Nos. 1 and 2 roads and feasibility studies and designs for the extension of the highway from Diamond to Timehri will be undertaken.
On the East Bank Berbice, studies and designs will be completed and the complete reconstruction of six- kilometres from Stanleytown to Everton and upgrade of 11.5 kilometres from Belle Vue to Light Town will commence.
Feasibility study for bypass road
Dr. Singh also announced that the Government will complete a financial feasibility study for the construction of a bypass road from Ogle on the East Coast to Eccles on the East Bank which will open new areas for development and investment and create a second route to reduce the congestion for the East Bank Demerara traffic.
This, the Minister said will constitute the first phase in the development of an alternative route to the CJIA thereby linking the countries two international airports and opening up a new development corridor for the East Bank Demerara.
An amount of $7.7 billion is allocated for the improvement of rural, community and hinterland roads and for street lighting from Belle Vue to Patentia on the West Bank, Demerara.
Further, Dr. Singh said negotiations have advanced substantially between the Brazilian and Guyanese technical working groups regarding the preparation of a design study for the construction of the Linden to Lethem road.
The technical assessment for alternative transport options, Dr. Singh said includes the cost benefit analysis of a rail link to ultimately connect with the deep water harbour and container port on the Berbice River. For this particular project, Dr. Singh said the administration has collaborated with the Surinamese Government for the construction of a fixed bridge over the Corentyne River. Further, resources are budgeted to upgrade the road link from Springlands to Moleson Creek and to prepare the bridge terminal facility at the crossing.
Additionally, the feasibility study for the new Demerara Bridge has been completed, and Government has invited expressions of interest for a public-private partnership for its construction and budgeted $338 million for critical works to extend the life of the Demerara Harbour Bridge.
In 2013, Government invested $11.3 billion to continue the construction of the East Bank Demerara and East Coast Demerara four lane highways, CJIA access road, rural, community and hinterland roads, additional street lighting, and the rehabilitation of the Demerara Harbour Bridge.
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