The number of hours spent commuting between Port Kaituma and Matthews Ridge has reportedly been significantly reduced, as the rehabilitative works on the road, connecting the two communities, which started in April, nears completion.
Regional Chairman Brentnol Ashley told Stabroek News that the works have created an ease of access for residents who previously, had suffered as a result of the deplorable road conditions.
Stabroek News understands that in April, a contract valued at $334.2 million was awarded to International Imports and Supplies, for the rehabilitation of roads from Port Kaituma to Matthews Ridge, Phase Two.
Hinterland Engineer at the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, Jeffrey Walcott in an interview with the Department of Public Information (DPI) explained that the works are being conducted in phases and the next scheduled stage – which will commence in 2018 – will see the continuation from Matthews Ridge to Baramita.
It was also noted that the Ministry is rehabilitating roads within Port Kaituma, the distinction between the two being the construction of “all weather roads” within the community as opposed to “rigid pavements for the major corridors, such as the road to the airstrip.
Nevertheless, Walcott is imploring residents to practice responsible use of the roads, to protect them and monitor the weight limits of vehicles traversing them.
“We’re looking at the long-term vision for Port Kaituma, the community which has been neglected for way too long. As part of our plans to develop hinterland regions, we are investing over $700 million in the region, and we plan on investing a lot more, so that persons understand that they are part of the nationwide development plan, and our goal is to bridge the gap,” Walcott told the DPI.
Meanwhile, Project Foreman, Eddy Suwarno, who also spoke with the DPI, stated that the rehabilitation works have started on 34km of Port Kaituma’s Road to Matthews Ridge and despite the weather constraints, the road will be completed in November.
“We’re using laterite on the road, doing eight inches to ten inches to cap on the road, after which we will compact the road which might reduce [it] to less than eight inch, maybe a seven inch road bed,” Suwarno said.
It was disclosed that the company was forced to conduct additional work outside of the contract to mobilize their equipment in order to begin the road works.
Similarly, a contract in the sum of $213.2 million was also awarded to KP Thomas and Sons Contracting Incorporated around the same time to rehabilitate the Port Kaituma Road from the airstrip to the Fitzburg Housing Scheme. How-ever, as reported by the DPI and confirmed by residents, that contractor has not yet started work.