Six contracts, valued at over $650 million, were awarded to contractors last month for maintenance of the Rockstone-Mabura, Kurupukari-Annai-Lethem and the Linden-Ituni-Kwakwani roads.
According to a release from the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR), the ministry, with support from the Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) and in collaboration with the Ministry of Public Infrastructure (MPI), will soon be embarking on several hinterland road improvement projects.
It was noted that the roads, which will be undergoing repair, were identified following discussions with the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association, miners and forest operators, who had reportedly explained that the condition of the roads was an impediment to their production efforts and, therefore, was increasing the cost of transporting supplies in and out of the interior.
“Ultimately, it is government’s intention to assist miners and foresters to achieve and maintain high yields of production, and as has occurred in the past, the intervention became necessary. Concerns raised by hinterland residents during outreaches conducted by the Ministry of Natural Resources also guided the decision by Minister Trotman to see the re-engagement of the Ministry of Natural Resources in hinterland roads maintenance,” the release stated.
The ministry related that equipment for repairs to the Linden-Ituni-Kwakwani Road have already been mobilised to the site and that the contractor has started marking the roadway. The repairs will be covered by a $239.6 million contract, which was awarded to International Imports and Supplies by the MNR and GGMC.
“The Linden-Kwakwani road is an important conduit for forest operators and repairs will also benefit the residents of these two communities and those along the corridor including the residents of Ituni and Aroaima. Persons living along the Berbice River will also benefit. The works include ditching, excavating, section repairs of soft spot and filling with laterite,” the release said.
Repairs to the Linden-Ituni-Kwakwani Road are scheduled to recommence as soon as the May-June rains subside, while repairs to the Rockstone-Mabura Road, also located in Region Ten, are to begin during that time. The realignment of the Manari Bridge, located in Region Nine, also awaits the end of the rainy season. The contract for the latter repairs, which was previously awarded to JR Ranch, is valued at $83,003,620.
It was further reported that maintenance works to the Annai to Lethem Road should begin within the first week of June, if the weather permits, while continuation of the section of road from Annai to Kurupukari was expected to begin in the final week of May.
Maintenance for the Annai to Lethem Road was awarded to D&R Construction and Machinery Rental in a contract worth $139.3 million. The release noted that all bonds for the project have already been submitted and the mobilisation advance is being processed. It further stated that the contract for the continuation of the road between Annai and Kurupukari was awarded to MMC Inc. and the work was scheduled to commence in the final week of May.
Natural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman has said that his ministry would be working with the Public Infrastructure Ministry to “improve the intricate road network in the six mining districts,” the release pointed out. It was stated that approximately $2 billion has been earmarked for these repairs, which are aimed at “providing the physical infrastructure necessary for these operators to maintain production in the extractive industries”.
The ministry also urged residents to monitor the work taking place in their communities and to make reports on the progress of the projects.