Two stretches of GT-Lethem road in very poor state

Dear Editor,

A cartoon in Saturday’s SN (April 13) depicting a rattling vehicle and persons and items flying all over the place is an apt description of the GT-Lethem road at present, especially for two stretches of the road from Linden to Mabura and from Pirara to Lethem; ironically, stretches nearest to the developed communities. The remaining stretches are to a fairly acceptable standard though there is also clear evidence of deterioration. An article in yesterday’s Kaieteur News reported on a fatal accident involving some foreigners on a stretch of road which is notorious for its ‘scrubbing board’ and which frequently renders vehicles unstable, especially for the less experienced drivers.

There was once a time when the company which operates the pontoon crossing for which it charged exorbitant fares was responsible for the maintenance of the road. This does not seem to be the case any more, but the pontoon fares remain high. It is probably time for the government to consider reducing the pontoon fare (between $9,000 and $40,000) for a 10-min crossing and charge a fee on the road in exchange for continuous maintenance.

So much money is being spent by the government on maintaining this road plus the money made on the pontoon crossing, can’t this suffice for proper maintenance? Somewhere it seems that the public is being shortchanged on taxpayers’ money. Special scrutiny should be made of the company that controls the tolls for use of the road and whether they are returning service for the high costs that they charge.

This road is very important economically, but yet after so many years of attempting to maintain it, the so called ‘experts’ are still to come up with a blueprint to have it in good condition for extended periods. 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. However, such an analysis would do well for the ‘experts’ to consider when maintaining the road.

Rather than having one general repair timeframe, break it down into stretches and set assumed time periods for when they will be in good condition. This way the repair work can be more routine and the entire stretch of road can be better maintained.
Why, also, can’t consideration be given for the respective regional administrations of Regions 9 and 10 to include in their budget estimates maintenance of the section of the road that is closest to them? There was a time in the not too distant past when the Region 9 administration had a grader and heavy roller which could have helped with road maintenance. The grader has been parked for over a year while the heavy roller was last seen being used by a private road contractor undertaking local works.

As politicians are debating the national budget in Parliament one only hopes that those from both the government and opposition sides who are supposed to be representing the people of the Rupununi can ask the hard questions about the maintenance of the GT-Lethem road and whether the monies allocated are being well spent. It would be a much better way to serve the people than
the name-calling episode which occurred recently.

Yours faithfully,
(Name and address provided)

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