Uncertainty surrounds the delay in the commencement of contracted works along sections of the Lethem to Annai road, according to Region Nine Chairman Bryan Allicock.
The delay surrounding the commencement of road works along the Lethem to Annai stretch was highlighted last Saturday, in a letter written by John Andries, who explained that while road works have commenced between Lethem to the Pirara Bridge, the stretch of road from there to Annai remains untouched, much to the dissatisfaction of drivers who have for the past months been dealing with poor road conditions.
“It was announced in the media on 01/06/2018 that contracts were inked for repairs to the badly deteriorated Lethem-Linden road. And indeed some sections of this vital road corridor have already been repaired. A bone of contention at the moment, however, is the Lethem to Annai stretch of the road. Despite the rainy season having concluded almost a month ago, maintenance work has just been done from Lethem to Pirara Bridge, a distance of approximately 35 kilometers,” Andries wrote.
“A further 85 kilometers have to be completed; 85 kilometers of huge potholes, craters and ditches! This unrepaired section is an absolute nightmare for those who have to traverse it, with the infamous Hunt Oil stretch in a most deplorable state… It, therefore, begs the question of why the slothfulness in effecting the necessary repairs when contracts were signed since in June? The rainy season can’t be the reason because the rains ceased more than three weeks ago. Why is it that the contractor responsible for the maintenance of the Kurupukari to Annai section, another part of the road badly damaged during the rainy season, has completed almost 90% of the work allotted when the contractor responsible for the Lethem to Annai stretch has only completed 35%?” he questioned.
Allicock, when contacted last evening, said the road works that have been effected were a part of the emergency maintenance done in hopes of bringing some relief to drivers, however he was uncertain of when the work will actually commence.
“I am not sure when the real works will begin because no one is telling us anything. The works that were done were just emergency works to fill potholes and so, it was not done as part of the works that contracts were signed for,” the Regional Chairman said.
“The government says they have all this money to pump into fixing these roads but we aren’t seeing anything being done apart from the emergency works. Rain today and it’s as though we have gone all the way back to square one again with the roads,” he added.
In addition to the roads, drivers are also calling on the authorities to look into the rehabilitation of several interior bridges along the trail, specifically those that fall between Kurupukari and an area known as Frenchman’s Junction.
One driver who spoke to Stabroek News explained that persons traversing that area are forced to contend with a bridge that has since been reduced to two pieces of timber. “It’s getting worse now because it very dangerous for us as drivers,” he added.
Stabroek News had reported that six contracts valued over $650 million, were awarded to contractors in May for maintenance of the Rockstone-Mabura, Kurupukari-Annai-Lethem and the Linden-Ituni-Kwakwani roads.
The Ministry of Natural Resources had announced that it would be embarking on the road improvement projects with support from the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission and in collaboration with the Ministry of Public Infrastructure.
It was noted that the roads for 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.
Further to this, it was reported that maintenance works for the Lethem to Annai road should have started within the first week of June, if the weather permitted, while continuation of the section of road from Annai to Kurupukari was expected to begin in the final week of May.
The $139.3 million contract for the Lethem to Annai road works were awarded to D&R Construction and Machinery Rental. The ministry also noted 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.