The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) has approved funding in the amount of US$4.4 million ($900m) to help Guyana enhance its transportation sector, and support the development of interior communities.
According to a release from the CDB, the funds will be used to finance feasibility studies and designs for the construction of a new bridge at Wismar, the upgrade of the Lethem aerodrome and a new transport terminal at Parika.
“An effective transportation sector is essential for sustainable growth and development, as it connects people to the supply and distribution of goods. The proposed enhancements to the transportation sector in Guyana will cover road, air and river transport, providing opportunities for business development and enhanced employment,” O’Reilly Lewis, Division Chief, Economic Infrastructure Division was quoted as saying in the release.
The selected areas for improvement include the single lane Mackenzie-Wismar Bridge which was constructed 51 years ago. The bridge, which is a major connection point between Georgetown and Demerara, as well as several interior locations and Brazil, sees approximately 3,000 vehicle crossings daily, quite often resulting in traffic congestion, the CDB said.
According to the release, the upgrading of the Lethem aerodrome is expected to capitalise on current and future demands for travel between Northern Brazil, the Caribbean, Latin/South America and North America. It is also expected to facilitate the development and expansion of businesses and other economic activities in the Region Nine area.
The Parika Transport Terminal is the main hub for riverine transportation services between Parika and the neighbouring communities which are separated by the Essequibo River. The terminal has deteriorated over time and is becoming a threat to public safety.
The project, the IDB statement said, is to be implemented through the Ministry of Public Infrastructure in Guyana, and will complement other CDB interventions, including ongoing work to improve sections of the road link from Linden to Lethem.
The project is consistent with CDB’s strategic objective of supporting inclusive and sustainable growth and development within its Borrowing Member Countries, as well as, its corporate priorities of strengthening and modernising social and economic infrastructure; and promoting environmental sustainability.