Washed out sections of the Mabura Trail linking George-town to Mahdia have resulted in passengers paying double the fare to get to the Region 8 area.
Buses which travel to Lethem from the city are also affected, with one bus service being forced to reschedule its operations over the past two days.
Heavy rain over the weekend washed away sections of the road along the trail. Route 72 minibus operators told Stabroek News yesterday that the authorities should be more pro-active in maintaining the road.
While no official from the Region 10 administration or the Public Works Ministry could be reached for a comment yesterday, Region 8 Chairman Senor Bell told Stabroek News that the impassable sections of the road at 40 and 42 miles would not have any significant impact on the economy of the region, but he noted that the transportation of fuel to the area might be affected. He said he was told that repairs to the road are currently being undertaken by the Works Ministry and the Mekdeci Machinery and Construction (MMC) company and such works are expected to be completed within the next few days.
A minibus driver told this newspaper yesterday that fuel trucks which travel along the location have been using hoses to channel fuel to trucks on the other side of the crossing at the 40 miles location.
This newspaper understands that repairs to the treacherous sections of the road involve the laying of culverts at both locations along the trail. A lull in rainfall in the affected area would be ideal for works to be completed.
Passengers utilizing the mini bus services between Georgetown and Mahdia are now faced with three stops along the roadway resulting in three separate increased fares being paid. One passenger noted that he was charged $5000 from Georgetown to the affected area, $500 to cross the area, $3000 from Mabura to the Mango Landing crossing at the Essequibo River and $3000 onward to Mahdia. The normal fare for the entire trip is $6000.
Persons at Mahdia told Stabroek News yesterday that while the washed away sections of the road have not had much of an effect on persons travelling to and from the Region 8 community, residents in the region were hopeful that the road would be fixed soon since added hours are spent during travelling.
Persons travelling to Lethem have been adjusting to the conditions, and according to the operators of the Intraserv bus service the impassable conditions at the two locations along the Mabura trail have forced it to adjust the departure times of its buses. This is to ensure passengers do not use the crossing at Mabura during the nighttime.
This newspaper understands that sections of the Mabura/Lethem trail, particularly at the Hunt Oil road, have been deteriorating with heavy rainfall in the area compounding the road’s condition and according to a bus operator, the authorities needed to undertake works to upgrade the route to an all-weather road with an anticipated boom in economic ties between Georgetown and the Rupununi area.
Earlier this year the Work Services Group (WSG) within the Public Works Ministry stated that the agency is working in collaboration with the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) to maintain the stretch of road between Linden and Lethem linking Guyana and Brazil.
Rickford Lowe of the WSG singled out the Linden–Lethem road project as one of the high points of the unit’s programme noting that work had been ongoing on the installation of a fixed vehicular weight control scale close to the Takutu Bridge. Regulation signs, which Lowe alluded to have been placed along the roadway, this newspaper observed during a recent visit to the Region 8 area, such signs are placed along the road between Annai and Linden. A contract was expected to be inked with a consultant to complete a one-year feasibility study on the road project earlier this year.
The GGMC noted last year that the roads within the interior network were constructed between the 1950s and 70s and most of the roads are deteriorating, the weather being among the contributing factors.