The long-awaited Manari bypass in the Rupununi, in Region Nine, was officially opened yesterday by the government.
The bypass, which cost of approximately $83 million, was constructed by JR Ranch Incorporation through a collaboration between the Ministries of Public Infrastructure and Natural Resources.
“With this new bypass, it is hoped lives will be saved,” Minister of Natural Resources Raphael Trotman was quoted as saying at the opening by the Department of Public Information (DPI).
He also said government remains committed to bringing the good life to every Guyanese, regardless of where they are located. “We have made a commitment to developing the hinterland region and as you can see, work is already underway,” he added. The DPI said the bypass had been a sore subject for many who had lost friends and loved ones on what has been described as a dangerous turn, just before entering the town of Lethem. In 2017, following an increase in accidents, particularly fatalities in the vicinity of the Manari bridge, JR Ranch Incorporated lobbied the government to find a solution to this major problem. Both Trotman and Minister of Public Infrastructure David Patterson responded.
The DPI noted that the project saw over 20,000 cubic metres of fill material being used to raise the road to a reasonable height to mitigate the negative effects of flooding and landslides that are common in the generally flat terrain of the Rupununi Savannahs. Further, a 200mm layer of suitable lateritic material was placed and compacted on the finished roadway, providing a surface for good rideability.
The DPI previously reported that the bridge is one of several projects financed by the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission in support of the Ministry of Public Infrastructure’s civil works. It also said the open procurement process for the reconstruction of the Manari Bridge has commenced and a new bridge is expected to be in place before the end of 2019.
Patterson, who was also present at the opening yesterday, was reported as saying that he was happy with the project, and assured residents that this is just part of what government has in store for the region.
Also present at the opening were Ministers of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs Sydney Allicock and Valerie Garrido-Lowe, Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) Commissioner Newell Dennison and Lethem Mayor Kerry Jarvis.