Eccles-to-Mandela Road project 30% complete – Min Croal

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− says road will be completed on schedule; to be opened by December

The Eccles to Mandela Road project, which has seen six contractors work on completing the important road link under the auspices of the Ministry of Housing and Water, is on course for completion and opening by this year end.

This was explained by Minister of Housing and Water Colin Croal, in an interview with this publication. He explained that the project is so far 30 per cent completed and work is currently ongoing on sand tilling.

“The Eccles to Mandela project is six lots. Basically, six contractors who are working. And that’s in progress, we’re aiming for a November month end completion so that we can have that open in December,” he said.

An artist’s impression of the Eccles to Mandela Avenue four-lane road

“It’s in progress they’re actually doing sand tilling and moving to the other stages. I would average that’s at least 30 per cent completed,” the Minister had further explained to this publication.

Among the flurry of infrastructural development underway, President Dr Irfaan Ali had announced in January that the Government is looking at building the four-lane road between Eccles on the East Bank of Demerara (EBD) and Mandela Avenue that will significantly ease the traffic congestion.

The President had conducted a site visit with technical and other officials on Saturday, where he had spoken about the Eccles to Mandela road link. The link is expected to be the second phase of the overall Ogle-Diamond bypass road, after the Diamond to Eccles link.

The bypass project will see a total of 26 kilometres of road constructed, linking two of the country’s main thoroughfares. This new road link will also be connected to key communities in Georgetown and along the East Bank of Demerara. These include Diamond, Mocha and Eccles – all on the East Bank – and Aubrey Barker Road in Georgetown. These connections will prove crucial in diverting traffic.

Works on the new alternative road connecting Diamond and Eccles on the EBD corridor, which is intended to ease the traffic congestion, are meanwhile almost complete. The new alternative road will run from Sixth Avenue, Diamond, to the Windsor Estate Road that leads on to the Eccles Landfill Site Road. This will form a connection through the new Herstelling Housing Scheme and other schemes that are being developed along the EBD corridor.

During an interview with another section of the media, Minister within the Ministry of Housing Susan Rodrigues had said that the Diamond to Eccles road would be commissioned soon. According to the Minister, this road project is awaiting the completion of construction of a connecting bridge but the road itself is completed.

The Minister had said previously that this particular road will make it significantly easier for persons to access house lots on the outskirts of the city, adding that, with such infrastructural transformation, persons can easily access Georgetown despite living outside the city. Rodrigues noted that before taking this step, Government must be able to prove to persons that their daily activities will not be challenged with traffic woes.

“Infrastructural projects are what enhances a nation and without that major infrastructure, we won’t be able to move forward. While we search for lands to develop housing communities, we have to make sure that there is the necessary infrastructure within the housing schemes and we are running out of space in Region Four…I do believe that we can cut that travel time and start to ease the burden on our commuters. This is why the infrastructural development is so important that people must feel confident to work in one city and live in another. And it must not be too burdensome on them or take away from their daily lives,” the Minister had said.

These projects are all part of the India-funded Bypass Road Project which would link the East Bank Demerara corridor to the East Coast of Demerara, creating a new highway in the backlands. The Indian Government had provided a US$50 million Line of Credit (LOC) for the road link that was initially slated for Ogle, ECD, to Diamond. Under the previous Government, the project was at a standstill for several years.

The Ali-led People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Administration has since redesigned the project into three phases to fit the LOC. It will now run from Ogle to Haags Bosch at Eccles in the first phase, then from Eccles to Diamond, and finally from Diamond to Timehri to connect to the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA). (Published in the Guyana Times)