I was fortunate to recently visit the road construction work ongoing at the Takutu Bridge and also over in Bom Fin, Brazil. One thing that struck me was the use of laterite as a foundation material for asphalted roads. Nowhere was any material such as crushed stone seen. And these roads seem very well constructed and of excellent quality.
Since laterite is easily available, especially in hinterland locations, I wondered if it would not have been cheaper to utilize this material in our road construction.
The highway from Bom Fin to Boa Vista and even further on to Manaus was also constructed using mainly laterite.
Probably our national road development programme would benefit if we utilized more of our local, easily accessible raw materials. If Guyana is not au fait with this form of road construction then it should liaise with Brazil to acquire the necessary technical expertise.
Another thing that was noticeable was the absence of any Guyanese presence during the construction of the access roads from the Takutu Bridge, on the Guyanese side. Couldn’t local personnel, such as engineers from the road-building division of the RDC, Region 9, or UG civil engineering students who have to design local projects, be part of this immense construction project? We could have gained vital knowledge and experience, especially in the use of laterite material as a major road-building material, from working on this project which would have aided us in our own development plans.