Minister within the Ministry of Public Works, Deodat Indar says the Sheriff-Mandela Road Expansion Project is 62 per cent complete and should be finished this year.
The Minister made this statement during an inspection of the works today.
“I have been advised by the engineer that the project is 62 per cent complete based on the last report received on February 21 so right now, there are 19 [working] sites along the route.
“I just remind the public that when we got into office, there were zero sites and the works had stopped so works are being conducted to get this project finished this year,” he said.
However, Minister Indar said businesses have raised concerns about the potential hindrances they would face upon the project’s completion.
“We had a lot of complaints from businesses that are operating on the ‘Back Road’ stretch about the design of the road regarding the earthen drain that they will have here when the entire road will have a concrete drain. This area will have an earthen drain, and it can have an impact on the shoulder of the road of the four-lane highway,” he said.
While he agreed that aesthetically the 400 metres of earthen drain against the concrete section would be jarring, he pledged that the matter would be addressed.
Aside from that, companies like The Beharry Group and Banks DIH told the Minister that the roadwork might adversely impact the ingress and egress of their vehicles, hampering their operations.
“Beharry have an issue on how their trucks are going to join the traffic because they have trucks coming in and out since they have a manufacturing facility. So, we have to go and address that.
We have to get back to them about that, we have not made any decision as yet. We have to go back to the drawing board. The same goes for Banks, who are concerned about the abrupt stop of the road. It involves cost so we have to look at that,” the Minister said.
In 2011, the then PPP/C Government utilised $1.7 billion for the designs for the widening of the road project and preparatory works to widen the East Coast Demerara four-lane highway between Better Hope and La Bonne Intention.
The US$31 million project was launched in 2018, but was subsequently halted when the Coalition government threatened to take the project from the Chinese contractor. The project forms part of the Government’s goal to reduce traffic congestion along the East Bank Demerara corridor.