By Kurt Campbell
[www.inewsguyana.com] – Technical Adviser of the Amaila Falls Access Road, Walter Willis has defended the work of the Chinese construction firm – China Railway First Group – on sections the Amaila Falls access road which is said to be more than 95% complete.
According to Willis, the assertion that national contractors constructed better roads than the Chinese contractors is untrue.
“This is not the case,” he said; further explaining that “what really happened is that the terrain in which China Railway first Group operated was much more hilly and plagued by incursions by miners and although we tried diligently to block the road and restrict movement of miners they continued.”
He told a news conference on Friday, January 19 that the heavy equipment used by miners on the road damaged it; adding that “we had 130 meters of washed out roads for section seven to repair and at this point and time they are still on site with equipment and they are carrying out the defects correction and repairs as weather permits.”
The road will give access to a hydropower plant which the administration continues to pursue construction opportunities for. Willis said it was important to complete the 162 kilometers road to allow for final closure for the construction of the plant.
“We are happy to say that we have substantially completed the road. Substantial completion means we have achieved more than 95%, it also means that the road can be put into use and it is being used,” Willis told Reporters.
There are currently delays in sections six and four of the road that was divided in seven sections and awarded to different contractors; resulting in termination of several contracts during the early stages of construction which started in 2010.
Several bridges were also constructed as part of the road project with the road expected to be handed over to the Amaila Hydropower Inc. to proceed with construction of the plant which is yet to receive the support of the parliamentary opposition.
Already US$28.9 million has been utilized on the road which is anticipated to have an annual maintenance cost of $200 million (GYD).
Meanwhile, Public Works Minister Robeson Benn said he could not provide details on the access of funding for the construction of the plant but assured that government was working hard at ensuring its realization.
He said it was a critical national project that would see significant reduction in electricity costs.