The awarding of contracts for the commencement of works on the Providence-Grove extension of the East Bank Demerara (EBD) four-lane highway is expected to be completed within the next two weeks.
The Inter-American Deve-lopment Bank (IBD) funded project, which has been in the pipeline for several months was expected to commence in April this year but the date was pushed back by the authorities citing poor attendance at public consultations and issues relating to the bidding process among others.
Coordinator of the Work Service Group (WSG) within the Public Works Ministry, Leon Goring, told Stabroek News recently that the authorities foresee the initial phases of the expected works starting before year end.
He said that at the moment a mobilisation period is ongoing and it includes the examination of the bids by contractors, traffic management plans and other relevant documentation. He said various plans for the project, which include the examination of maps for the relocation of the entrances to persons’ homes and plans for earthen works, are being completed.
At consultations, residents expressed fear that their homes and the entrances to their yards may be affected by the project and Goring noted that the issue remained important.
According to him, there will be some minimal removal of structures, mainly bridges, which may fall in line with the proposed project area. He said works will see the eastern section of the roadway being extended and he noted that the surveys have already been completed in this regard. The roadway is expected to be widened by more than 30 feet.
As regards the re-routing of traffic, Goring said that there will be inconveniences where this is concerned. However, the plans being drawn up are designed to keep the inconvenience at a minimal level.
“From the Herstelling area further south, there is very little numbers in terms of population, not many people live there so it’s not an issue there,” Goring stated. How-ever, he noted that the bridges leading to the two private housing schemes at Herstell-ing and Farm will be affected by the project and as such may have to be restructured.
Plans for traffic to be re-routed through several villages, including Herstelling, Covent Garden and Prospect, are being completed as well as the construction of a second entrance to the New Diamond Housing Scheme.
Several consultations, many of which have seen minimal public participation, have been completed to date and a source close to the project said that objections and considerations raised by persons living in villages which might be affected by the project had been noted and taken into consideration as the project’s commencement date approached.
At a stakeholder workshop on the extension project early this year at Duke Lodge in Kingston, Transport Planning Officer within the works ministry Rabindranauth Chandarpaul told a gathering that included residents that an issue which needed to be ironed out by the agency as well as the project consultants is traffic flow fluctuations.
Residents have raised several concerns relating to the strength of the roadway given its proximity to the nearby Demerara River. It was noted by the Works Ministry that the engineers would have taken this into consideration in their 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.
Several proposals are being considered by the authorities including the prospect of having workplaces stagger work hours, and a project officer within the agency noted yesterday that this was still on the cards and will be implemented once a positive feedback is received by the project managers. He said that the proposal is being considered so that public sector workplaces may consider effecting changes to employee work hours.