Two contracts for the replacement and repairs of culverts and the maintenance of drainage at Wismar and Mackenzie, Linden amounting to $78,114,850 are expected to arrest the flooding and erosion problems on both banks.
B and J Civil Works has started replacing three main culverts in Linden at Danjou Alley, Christianburg, and Water Lilly Road and Coop Crescent at Mackenzie, in the amount of $36,653,650 which was awarded by the Ministry of Finance earlier this year.
The second sum of $41,461,200 was awarded to Annirud Ramcharitar to facilitate the rehabilitation of the drainage network at Mackenzie Commercial Centre.
The two projects were recommended by the Linden Municipality and the Regional Democratic Council when approached by the Linden Economic Advancement Programme (LEAP) which indicated that there were some excess funds available.
The projects are intended to arrest the flooding in some areas at Mackenzie and flooding and erosion in areas at Wismar.
While the works to replace the three culverts have commenced and should be completed before the end of April, the rehabilitation of the drainage network at the Mackenzie Commercial Centre is yet to get started.
According to information from the Linden Town Council the drainage works at Mackenzie were part of a designed plan of the River Front Development Project. However that aspect was not part of the first phase of the project. Due to the conclusion of the LEAP in December of 2009 the remaining funds were handed over to the Ministry of Finance which took the initiative to implement the recommendations of the two local authority bodies.
As set out in the designs of the Main Street component of the Linden River Front Development Project the drains that were targeted are the full stretch of drains along Republic Avenue and the cross streets along Crabwood, Wismar, Manni and Pine Streets.
According to the project document, the cross streets would be excavated and pipes replaced while the stretch of Republic Avenue would be rehabilitated and covered to facilitate the creation of much needed parking space in the market central.
During the first phase of the River Front Development Project it was recognized that the culvert which spans the Coop Crescent Road and leads to the Demerara River was extensively damaged and in need of urgent attention. Failing this the road would have caved in, possibly causing death or serious injury to persons or damage to vehicles traversing the area.
Currently works are in progress at Danjou Alley and Coop Crescent but commuters of the central shopping area at Mackenzie said that they were not pleased with the way the commencement of the work was done. According to some persons, especially businesspersons who operate in the area, no prior notice was given that the road would have been closed to facilitate the remedial works.
“We turned up Friday morning of all days to find that we can’t gain access to the area because they were going to start breaking the road,” one businessman said.
Others including taxi drivers said that because the area is one of the main shopping areas in Linden prior notice should have been issued.
“We are very happy to have the culvert replaced but there is always a right and a wrong way of doing things. This area is used also by hire cars for parking and no one told us anything, now it’s confusion along Republic Avenue,” another resident said.
They also noted that access to some of the main ferry services have also been affected.
The works are being supervised by the Ministry of Public Works.