Investors needed for Kurupukari Bridge, rest stops along road to Brazil – Edghill

Kurupukari Crossing

The Guyana Government continues to woo investors with the abundance of opportunities available in Guyana especially in building out the country’s infrastructure.

Public Works Minister Juan Edghill on Wednesday outlined some of these areas during a panel discussion on ‘Investing in Guyana: Growing Opportunities’ at the International Energy Conference that is being held at the Marriott Hotel in Georgetown.

He noted that as the country builds out a corridor to connect with its surrounding neighbours to improve trade and ground transportation, the Linden to Lethem Road Project will play a major role as part of that connectivity.

Works are presenting ongoing at the Linden to Mabura section of that road network – a US$190 million project that includes the construction of 45 bridges. However, Edghill disclosed that another critical component of that superhighway road to Brazil is a bridge at the Kurupukari Crossing, which is along the trail to Lethem.

Consequently, the minister invited potential investors to explore this opportunity for a public-private-partnership.

“On the road to Brazil, we are building 45 bridges but there is still yet a major structure to make that road a 24-hour road. That’s at Kurupukar – it’s a 600-metre bridge. There is a possibility there for an engagement for private-public-partnership,” Edghill said.

Currently, a pontoon is used to take vehicles across the Essequibo River into Kurupukari – a settlement on the river. With this river transportation, a journey to Lethem usually takes between 12 to 14 hours. But the Public Works Minister posited that this could significantly be reduced with a bridge at the Kurupukari Crossing.

“Investments can come and make that 24-hour [crossing with the bridge]. People pay to cross on the pontoons, there may be some discussions on it being a toll bridge. A great possibility exists there,” the public works minister noted.

Meanwhile, as Guyana builds out a ‘corridor of connectivity’ as a direct link to Brazil, Suriname and even French Guiana, another room for investment along the Linden-Lethem Road has been identified.

Edghill told potential investors at the Energy Conference that once the Linden-to-Lethem Highway is completed and vehicles start traversing on it, there will be the need for rests stops.

“Once we’re going to have trucking of commodities on that corridor, there is need for investors to start talking to go invest and Dr Ramsaroop about rest stations for truckers, motels along the way, heavy-duty equipment services. Once you have trucks coming in, they will need to be serviced, tyres need to be fixed… So, the possibilities keep climbing,” he noted.

The Linden-Mabura Road is being upgraded to a two-lane all-weather, asphaltic road from sand and dirt. The road will be approximately 121 kilometres long and 7.2 metres wide with a three-year timeline.

The project is being funded by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) via a US$112 million loan, a grant to the tune of £50 million (US$66 million) from the United Kingdom Government under its Caribbean Infrastructure Partnership Fund (CIPF), and an input of US$12 million from the Guyana Government.

The Linden-to-Mabura Road will feature a cycle and pedestrian lane measuring 2 metres wide, along with 10 bus stops outfitted with ramps for persons with disabilities. Additionally, a number of bridges and culverts along the way will be replaced, and some 123 lights will be installed.

Moreover, the Guyana Government is in the process of securing financing to further upgrade the road from Mabura to Lethem.

According to the Public Works Minister, government’s national plan entails putting in place all of the infrastructure to connect people and places, provide goods while at the same time have a continual corridor of connectivity between Guyana and its neighbours.