Sections of the Linden/Mahdia trail have been in a slushy state for several days, prompting calls for an urgent upgrade of the road.
The state of the road has taken the spotlight in recent times, particularly after severe rainfall in Guyana’s interior.
According to reports, earlier this week vehicles using the roadway had been stuck for hours as motorists experienced difficulty navigating it.
Recently, truckers told Stabroek News that the road’s condition had put many of them on the back foot, as they decided to keep off until the weather conditions in the area improve. According to the truck drivers, improper maintenance and the absence of proper drainage along the roads have contributed to the road being virtually impassable during wet weather conditions.
Mahdia minibus operators have also voiced concern over the state of the road and they have repeated calls made last year for it to be upgraded to an all-weather road. Minibus driver Lance (only name given) told this newspaper that sections of the trail, between Number 58 Miles and Linden, had been “difficult to pass through” within the past two weeks and he blamed persistent rainfall for the road’s condition.
Lance, who usually travels from Mahdia to the city during the wee hours of the mornings, said that on most occasions the road’s condition would be “fairly okay,” but whenever “bad weather” prevails minibus operators experience nightmares crossing “difficult” sections. He noted that closer to Mahdia, the Potaro road connecting Central Mahdia to the Mango Landing Crossing along the Essequibo River had been posing difficulties for motorists. “I coming in the trail today and had to wait long before I decide to travel past a part in the road on a hill because it bad there,” he said of the Potaro trail.
It was, however, noted by other minibus drivers that they have become acclimatised to the conditions along the trail at areas which are normally difficult to navigate, particularly whenever there is rainfall in the interior.
In recent times, sections of the trail linking the coastland to the interior communities of Lethem and Mahdia have deteriorated to a state where there had been disruptions to transportation services to the areas.
The trail leads out of Linden until Number 58 Miles, where it branches off to Lethem and Mahdia, respectively.
In July last year, eight HDPE, 40-foot pipes were dispatched to sections of the trail at Number 40 and Number 42 miles, after heavy rains caused nearby creeks to swell and wash away sections of the road. The road is maintained by the Works Ministry and the Mekdeci Mining Company (MMC).
This week, bids for repairs and maintenance of the Linden/Lethem trail were opened and work is expected to be completed before year end.
There have been complaints over the state of the roads linking Georgetown and Lethem and Mahdia, and road users have said that the authorities should have utilised the dry weather to upgrade the trail.
The Linden/ Lethem trail had deteriorated to an impassable state in July last year as sections of the roadway south of the Kurupukari crossing became difficult to navigate and trips to the border community by bus stretched to as much as 24 hours. The mainly affected area was a swamped section of the road at Cork Wood, an area near the Iwokrama Rainforest Reserve.
Further south, the Hunt Oil Stretch between Lethem and Annai had washed away and residents said recently that no other work had been undertaken to the section of the trail after emergency repairs were undertaken last year.
A Brazilian delegation, during a visit to Guyana last August, had pledged its support in assisting the government to improve the road, which is seen as a vital economic link between the two regions.