Chief Roads Engineer Leon Goring said preparatory works for the expansion of both the East Coast and East Bank four-lane highways are moving apace.
Goring, who is attached to the Ministry of Public Works, told the Government Information Agency (GINA) that along the East Coast – from Better Hope to Montrose and from Montrose to Golden Grove – the reserve is being developed to accommodate the construction of concrete drains measuring 11,000 to 12,000 feet along both sides of the road. He also said between the inside edge of the concrete drain and the road will be filled with sand and utilities will relocated, as the first phase of the project gets underway.
Kelvin Clarke, engineer in charge of the East Coast expansion, said most of the sand filling to the unconstructed areas in lot one (Better Hope – Montrose) would have been completed and some utilities have already been relocated. He said despite the delays caused by the inclement weather, the contractor is focused on completing the work in a timely manner.
“In lot two of the project (La Bonne Intention – Golden Grove) the contractor has started with initial excavation works being executed outside of the Life Springs Cathedral in LBI,” Clarke said. He also explained that alternate drainage to areas under construction in both phases has been provided in the communities as the drainage systems there are not high capacity as the roadside drains, “so there will be some amount of backing up, nevertheless the mechanism in place is completely operational and in instances where there is minor back-ups, water will recede momentarily.” Clarke also said, “We are assisting a resident with giving her some material to build up her land as her land is very low which plays against her. She is located on the northern side of the road, between Better-Hope and Plaisance.”
Meanwhile, the Chief Engineer said work on the East Bank four-lane expansion between Diamond and Providence has been divided into three sections to facilitate the participation of local contractors.
According to Goring, “The contracts have all been awarded, the contractors have mobilized to site…at present the contractors are stockpiling materials and conducting a detailed survey for works for submission for approval…the surveys will determine the areas of relocation for the GPL and other utilities…this survey serves as a bench mark and once it is approved the works will start physically on the ground…pavements will be replaced along with utility posts.”
GINA said preparatory works for the expansion of the East Coat road started late last year with the construction of the first lot undertaken by Falcon Transportation and Construction Services to a tune of $468.2M. Lot two is being executed by Dipcon Engineering Services at a cost of $571.6M. The scope of the work entails: the clearing of the right of way; placement of a white sand base; construction of re-enforced concrete drains on both sides of the road and the construction of temporary timber bridges at key locations to facilitate access during the construction period. Government secured the sum of US$900,000 to prepare the design for the East Coast four-lane road from the Kuwaiti government last year. Of that sum, $22M will be used to extend the East Bank four-lane highway.
Head of the Presidential Secretariat Dr Roger Luncheon had said that government’s investment in the expansion of the roads will significantly reduce the traffic build-up along the thoroughfare. The construction of the four-lane road from Houston to Providence has significantly improved the flow of traffic along the East Bank and the West Bank and West Coast of Demerara. However, the advent of the Diamond Grove Housing Scheme has caused congestion in that area during peak hours.
In 2011, $10.1B had been budgeted for the maintenance, rehabilitation and construction of roads and bridges countrywide. The year before, $7.9B was expended to improve the country’s bridges and road network of which $5.9B was spent on the latter, GINA noted.