The Ministry of Public Infrastructure has disclosed that it has expended in excess of $53M to maintain the stretch of road between Linden to Lethem in the first half of 2018.
Minister within the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, Annette Ferguson, told the National Assembly last evening that the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) has awarded contracts to contractors to maintain stretches of the road.
Those contractors are mobilising but have been challenged by the rainy season, the minister noted, according to a report from the Department of Public Information (DPI).
Intense rainfall in the last few months has damaged the road making it impassable.
The House was debating a motion brought by Opposition Chief Whip Gail Teixeira pointing out the dire state of the road and calling for a more strategic maintenance routine.
Minister Ferguson discredited claims made by the opposition that the government has done nothing over the last three years to maintain the road.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Public Infrastructure, David Patterson, offered apologies to residents and others using the roadway. He noted the challenge is not in getting construction underway but drainage. Minister Patterson explained to the House, the road’s surrounding was flooded, as such, the draining of the road was not possible.
To prevent a recurrence of the deterioration of the road, the Ministry of Public Infrastructure said it will undertake full responsibility for the funding and execution of routine maintenance in advance of the rainy season from June 2019.
The ministry said it will also prioritise the use of chemical stabilisation in fair-weather road construction to ensure greater climate resilience.
The ministry is also in the process of evaluating tenders for the first phase of the Linden/Lethem road project. The Terms of Reference (TOR) for the construction by the Guyanese and Brazilian governments will be ready in August.
Phase one of the project covers approximately 125 kilometres of the road (Linden to Mabura Hill) and also includes a bridge across the Kurupukari River. Guyana secured funding from the British Government through its UK Caribbean Infrastructure Partnership Fund (UKCIF) programme to complete the design. According to DPI, the contract for this consultancy will be awarded shortly.