As the government gears up to begin works on the Grove to Timehri infrastructure development project, commuters are being assured that enough systems will be put in place to accommodate a smooth flow of traffic during the construction period.
According to the project summary for the Grove to Timehri road works, rehabilitation will be done on both sides of 23.5 kilometres of the road. One concern raised by a resident, however, was the level of traffic buildup on the East Bank of Demerara (EBD) that will be caused as a result of the project.
With hundreds of thousands of vehicles using the road, the Public Works Ministry’s Work Services Group noted that two detour roads have been identified for use during the construction period.
These are the detour road from Diamond to Good Success and another road at Good Hope, in front of the GTT Exchange. The Work Services Group explained that two new roads will also be cut east of Grove to Timehri, one from the Linden Highway and a second from Mandela.
It was explained that while the Grove to Timehri road will not be closed, construction will be done in segments. As such, diversions will be facilitated, with contractors working at night to be considered.
The project is being funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), to the tune of US$100 million. The project duration is expected to be 36 months but while a commencement date is yet to be announced, Guyana Times understands that substantive works will start soon. In fact, the Government has already been utilising local funds to desilt all the drains and widen roads along the Diamond/Grove corridor.
Works on widening and upgrading the Grove to Diamond road are expected to further complement plans to construct the new US$261 million high-span bridge across the Demerara River, which will land aback Nandy Park on the East Bank of Demerara and at La Grange, West Bank Demerara.
The new bridge will be a fixed 2.65-kilometre four-lane high-span cable-stayed structure across the Demerara River, with the width of the driving surface being about 23.6 metres. It will feature a bicycle lane and is expected to bring an end to closures to vehicular traffic with a 50-metre fixed high-span to cater for the free flow of vessels uninterrupted. The river will be dredged along a 13.5-kilometre stretch to accommodate large vessels.
This new bridge will replace the ageing floating Demerara Harbour Bridge (DHB), which has outlived its lifespan by several decades. At 1.25 miles (2.01km), the current Demerara Harbour Bridge is a strategic link between the East and West Banks of Demerara, facilitating the daily movement of thousands of vehicles, people, and cargo.
Meanwhile, the EPA has since exempted the project from an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). According to the agency, it was determined that the project will not significantly affect the environment and thus should be exempt.
“Impacts on water quality will be medium and short-term. Potential contamination of the surface water will be minimised by the implementation of erosion and sediment control measures such as rock check dams, sediment basins, sediment fences, and silt socks and by enforcing a strict no-dumping policy, especially in drainage canals and areas nearest the waterways.”
“Impacts from particulate matter and gaseous emissions primarily from the usage of heavy-duty machines/vehicles, operation of generators, traffic, and construction materials will be medium, localised, and short-term and are not expected to exceed WHO standards. Mitigation measures for dust control in the short-term will be implemented such as wetting of the road,” EPA further stated.
The environmental agency also alluded to a traffic management plan that will be developed and implemented, with various diversion routes to minimise traffic congestion. Additionally, they noted that the project is expected to use noise-dampening equipment during the construction period.