The four-lane road on the East Coast of Demerara (ECD) railway embankment that the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Government has sent out to tender, is expected to be completed in two to three years.
During the recent distribution of cash grants to fishermen on the ECD, Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo updated them on infrastructure plans. Specifically, he informed them of the time frame to complete the four-lane highway from Unity to Sheriff Street, on the railway embankment.
“We just awarded a contract that from Unity to Sheriff Street, on the railway embankment, we’re going to now have a four-lane road. So that should be completed in maybe two to three years. Four lanes. So, you don’t have traffic congestion going in from the East Coast,” he explained.
According to Jagdeo, this means reduced traffic and transit time, as persons traverse the East Coast. He also noted that as a consequence of all these initiatives, the whole area will become more urbanised.
“What this means is that all of the lands and development will come out further on the East Coast. Because people can travel, the transit time will be fast. You’ll now have, like from this area you’ll have eight lanes going in to the city. Four on the railway embankment and four here.
“So that will be important for development. It means housing, business development, everything. You’ll see the whole area becoming urbanised. We’re now building a four lane, from Diamond into Georgetown. We’ve completed part of it,” the Vice President said.
Government has said that the four-lane highway will go all the way from Sheriff Street to Mahaica on the railway embankment. There are also plans for the upgrade of a two-lane road from Belfield to Orange Nassau.
Back in June when the contract for the East Coast Demerara-East Bank Demerara road link project was being discussed, Senior Minister in the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance, Dr Ashni Singh, had talked about extending the four-lane road from Sheriff Street to Buxton and beyond.
“When I say brand new four-lane road, I’m speaking here of the alignment along the existing railway embankment road, but widening that existing railway embankment road to a new four-lane highway from Sheriff Street to Orange Nassau, like I said with plans to go beyond,” Dr Singh had said.
At the time, a US$106 million contract had been signed between the Public Works Ministry and India-based Ashoka Buildcon Limited, for the construction of a four-lane bypass road that will link the East Coast of Demerara corridor at Ogle directly to the East Bank Demerara corridor at Eccles.
Back in 2015, the Indian Government had provided the US$50 million line of credit for the road link that was initially slated for Ogle to Diamond, EBD. However, the project cost was driven up to over $208 million by the previous A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) Government and the project languished under them.
However, when the PPP/C Government took office in 2020, it redesigned the project into two phases to fit the line of credit – first from Ogle to Haags Bosch road in Eccles, which is about 48-50 per cent of the project, and then from Eccles to Diamond.
The Guyana Government will be undertaking the extension from Diamond all the way to Timehri. It was announced in January of this year that Ashoka Buildcon Limited won the contract to construct the road, ahead of two other Indian companies. Ashoka has built a number of bridges and roads. According to the company’s website, it even built a bridge in 38 days, namely the Mandve Bridge near Pandharpur, India. The company said the bridge was supposed to be built in 12 months.