Commuters say two sections of Lethem road in terrible shape

Minibus operators and persons using the Georgetown to Lethem route are complaining of the deplorable condition of the road from Linden to Mabura and Pirara to Lethem.

Residents and minibus operators who ply the route on a daily basis say they are disgusted with the situation because the relevant authorities pay them no heed when the issue is brought to their attention.

Both sections of the road have been riddled with potholes since the latter part of last year residents of Lethem said.
Attempts by this newspaper yesterday to secure a comment from the Regional Democratic Council of Region Nine on the issue were unsuccessful.

The road from Linden to the Amaila junction was described as being in satisfactory conditions. But the resident went on to say that the road from the Amaila junction to Mabura is a “driver’s nightmare.” Its hill and valley design requires drivers that are familiar with the area to comfortably pass through, one driver said.

While the road from the Amaila junction to Mabura is described as a “scrubbing board”, the stretch from Pirara to Lethem is littered with potholes and is described as an “egg tray” by resident Carlton Beckles.

Beckles told this newspaper yesterday that the distance from Amaila to Mabura is 44 miles and it takes a driver three hours or more to cover the distance.  Three hours or more is a lot of time to cover 44 miles, Beckles added. The extra travelling time is because of the potholes along the road that require drivers to carefully navigate their path and decrease their speed.

Repair works to both sections of the road were done during the latter part of last year but it was not done to a good standard, residents added.  Beckles recalled that after the road was done about a month later it began to deteriorate.

In yesterday’s edition of Stabroek News, a letter writer stated that “the general timeframe for a ‘repaired’ road to deteriorate is approximately three weeks along the Lethem-Pirara stretch, and probably four-six weeks for the Linden to Mabura stretch. The remaining section usually stands up longer. This is a conservative estimate by a layman who holds no knowledge of road construction and is making just a general observation on the basis of frequenting the road…”

Beckles also stated that the road was in better condition when Omai Gold Mines Limited was operating in the area since they were doing the maintenance work on it.

One possible reason for the current state of the road was the wearing away of its foundation due to constant grading and “patch work” that is carried out when repairs are being done another resident added. The resident stated that she had witnessed part of the repair process which was just the grading of the road and filling it with red loam-type soil that washes away easily when it rains. During the rainy season and in the nights, travelling becomes much more difficult the resident noted.

One minibus operator told Stabroek News yesterday that he makes one trip per week to Lethem but added that if the road was in better condition two trips could have been made. The man also stated that repairs to his bus have to be done very often.

A passenger related to Stabroek News his experience of travelling to Lethem. He stated that the experience was a terrifying one because of the bumps and holes hence the constant swerving of the buses. The passenger said “bridges that hung over …valleys and trenches were crying under the stress of the vehicles…note light vehicles on this roadway are rare. The red blasts of dust can choke a man. Weeks later and my chest still hurt from the dust I inhaled.”

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