Indian firm undertaking feasibility study for East Bank-East Coast road link

Geoffrey Vaughn

The feasibility study and design for the East Bank-East Coast bypass road, which are being undertaken from this month by Indian company RITES Limited, are expected to be completed before the end of July, Coordinator of the Works Services Group of the Ministry of Public Infrastructure (MPI) Geoffrey Vaughn has said.

Making a presentation at the Ministry of Public Infrastructure’s year-end-review last Thursday, Vaughn explained that the draft contract was sent to India and has been approved.

“Two to three years ago, the previous administration would’ve started talks with the Indian government in terms of looking at a road link between the East Bank and the East Coast and I must say that will be coming through now,” he said.

“They [India] have responded to us, agreeing with the draft contract, so we should have that contract being signed onto and works being executed at the cost of US$1.3 million,” Vaughn added.

RITES Limited was identified for the contract for the feasibility and design as since the project is being funded by the Exim Bank of India, it is stipulated that it must be tendered out to an Indian contracting company.

Vaughn also disclosed that competitive bidding and the selection of a supervisory consultant should be completed before the end of June, while bidding and the selection of the civil works contractor should be concluded by the end of November.

Early last year, Minister of Finance Winston Jordan had signed off on a US$50 million loan with the Exim Bank of India for the construction of a 20 kilometer road from Ogle on the East Coast of Demerara, to Diamond on the East Bank of Demerara

Jordan had explained that the frustration of road users due to the lack of an adequate road network system to meet the tremendous growth was noted and the bypass road is a small step in the comprehensive expansion of the country’s road network system to reduce congestion and improve travel times on the roadways.

The new road link will serve as a corridor for communities on the East Bank, including Perseverance, Mocha, Providence, Eccles, Peter’s Hall and Aubrey Barker Road. It will also provide a bypass from the city, where most traffic flows daily, resulting in massive congestion and major delays.

Meanwhile, the Sherriff Street-Mandela Avenue road upgrade and expansion project is also slated to commence this month along with the continuation of the East Coast road widening project. The latter, Vaughn said, is expected to be 75% completed by the end of the year despite it having a two-year completion deadline. The project commenced last August.

“It will be four lanes from Better Hope to Annandale and two lanes from there to Belfield. Presently, contractors are working on the extension at Better Hope,” Vaughn indicated.

The scope of the work to be done this year includes the construction of drains, bridges, medians and sidewalks, the extension of culverts, and the installation of traffic lights and street lights.  The expenditure on the project up to the end of last year was pegged at $1,938,788,367.

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