Traffic may be re-routed through villages during East Bank road extension

Traffic could be diverted through several East Bank Demerara (EBD) villages next year when works on the four-lane highway between Providence and Grove commence and residents are already worried about the potential disruption of essential services due to the project.

During a stakeholder workshop on the EBD Public Road four-lane extension project yesterday at Duke Lodge, Transport Planning Officer within the works ministry Rabindranauth Chandarpaul told a gathering that included residents that works on the Inter-American Development Bank funded project are expected to commence during the first quarter of 2011. He added that among the issues which are being ironed out by the agency as well as the project consultants is traffic flow fluctuations. In this regard, he explained that diversion of traffic through several villages along the roadway is being considered and that the roads within the villages between Providence and Herstelling as well as Covent Garden and Prospect will be upgraded to allow for traffic to be diverted along the roadway.

Works will begin within the first quarter of next year pending the tendering processes. Chandarpaul stated that the Works Ministry is also examining the prospect of having workplaces “stagger” work hours. He said that the proposal is being considered so that public sector workplaces may consider effecting changes to employee work hours. He said that it is hoped that the proposal will be broadened to include the private sector.

Essential services may also be affected by the project and a resident of Agricola told the gathering, which included several IDB representatives, that the project’s managers should consider this eventuality, particularly as regards the water supply. It was noted that before the project gets on stream, the major players will be meeting with the utility services such as the Guyana Water Inc. to discuss plans which would see the disruption of services being kept at a minimum.

Another EBD resident said that emergencies, such as a sick person seeking medical attention, also need to be considered and Chandarpaul stated that the issue will be discussed with the health authorities. He said a proposal being considered is for the Diamond Hospital to be upgraded to treat patients who would require more complex medical care.

It was noted that the existing roadway will be maintained as the western lane of the four-lane project. Chandarpaul added that the plans will ensure that the required drainage infrastructure is maintained while pedestrian crossings will also be upgraded.

Another resident pointed out yesterday that the project managers needed to pay close attention to the strength of the roadway given its proximity to the nearby Demerara River. It was noted that the engineers would have taken this into consideration via surveys and analyses conducted in the area recently. The tests included a record of vehicles and pedestrians who use the roadway on a daily basis.

The project site runs from Providence to the southern end of Diamond and as a result of stakeholder input, a second entrance is being planned to serve the Diamond/Grove housing schemes. The new entrance being proposed will be constructed close to the DDL plant. The team noted yesterday that designs are being considered to develop the road further past the Diamond/Grove junction, however, those designs would be considered along with information in future for the Diamond/Timehri long-term road extension project.

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