It was indeed a great pleasure to see that the Regional Administration of Region #9 has constructed an alternate road from Lethem to Katoonarib which connects Lethem to the Deep South Rupununi. This route will be most useful during the rainy season when the Rupununi River becomes so swollen that it prevents use of the traditional roads which usually causes numerous hardships for residents of the South Rupununi.
For decades, the only access roads to the South Rupununi was via Dadanawa, and along the left and right banks of the Rupununi River. At the peak of the rainy season the Rupununi River becomes so swollen that it extends many miles into the savannahs, turning the access roads into virtual waterways. Traffic comes to a standstill and untold hardships are faced by residents of the South Rupununi.
The decision taken by the Regional Administration to cut an access road from Katoonarib Village to Shirri Mountain area means that even in the middle of the rainy season road access wouldn’t be unduly affected.
A note of warning, however, needs to be given to the Regional Administration. This new access road needs to be urgently upgraded to ensure that it withstands the rainy season. It seems perfect in its present state during this dry season. But there is already evidence of many soft spots that will rapidly deteriorate during the rainy season and become a nightmare for vehicle users. The mountain through which the road was cut also needs some lateritic surfacing as its loam surface is very slippery and may not be navigable when wet.
The positioning of the road seems perfect and, as long as it is properly surfaced, it should serve as an excellent route for the people of the South Rupununi Villages.
Another suggestion that is being made to the Regional Administration is to continue upgrading the ‘back road’ to Krowdar to make it the main access route. All of the creeks and rivers that intersect this road already have very sturdy bridges made of concrete and capable of withstanding the extreme conditions during the rainy season. The infrastructure of some of these bridges far exceeds those built along the Lethem to Georgetown road.
(Indeed if similar bridges are built along our Lethem to Georgetown road then there would not be any difficulties during the rainy season). What is now needed is to fix those ‘soft spots’ along the road, especially the Powshanau Black mud and the approaches to the bridges.
The Regional Administration needs to be given a ‘pat on the back’ for their initiative to cut this new access road. But they are advised to not sit on their laurels and wait for the inevitable breaking up of the road during the wet season. They should undertake immediate surfacing of this road so that it withstands the entire rainy season.