A transportation master plan, which will be linked with the national development strategy and will help to alleviate the transportation worries of the Guyanese, is being developed by the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Government.
This was revealed by Public Works Minister Juan Edghill, during a programme to discuss the state of roads, bridges and transport in Guyana. While the Government is well aware of and already implementing elements of this master plan, Edghill said that experts are working on the formal document even now.
“That will be soon. That document will be coming out soon. The experts are doing the write-up. We’ll put it on paper, visualise it. And make it (available) for the ordinary man. That’s a work in progress,” Edghill explained.
The Minister also gave some insight into some of the infrastructural projects that are envisioned in this master plan. He noted that the transportation plan is about much more than the urban areas, since certain roads like the one from Orealla (Region Six) to Kwakwani (Region 10) are important to access quarry material for the construction sector.
“Our transportation plan is not just an urban plan. Because we still have to get our roads and our people connected in Region Seven. We’re building out the road that links Region Four to Region Seven, which is Sandhills to Bartica Road.”
“We’re building out the roads that link Region Three to Region Seven, Parika to Goshen. We’ve built the new road, from Ituni into Tacama. That is to be able to help us with our agricultural development. And what we’re doing there with corn and soya,” Edghill further explained.
Edghill stressed that the plan envisions a massive building out of roads and bridges not just for commuters, but to facilitate trade, commerce, housing development, tourism, and agriculture. He noted that they must implement infrastructure to link Guyana to its neighbours and the Caribbean Region.
“We have to link Guyana, being that hub that will link the Caribbean and South America. The bridges and roads. We must be able to get into Brazil. So we must be able to move from Brazil to French Guiana, Suriname and Guyana, down the Linden-Lethem road into Brazil. And that link has been clearly established.”
Also integral in this transport plan are Guyana’s air and water links, something President Dr Irfaan Ali has been speaking about. Edghill noted that these aspects of the plan are important for Guyana’s economic development.
“Our air link, linking the Caribbean with South America and other parts of the world in terms of our tourism product, is advancing. Our rivers and waterways, ensure our agriculture products can get to the Caribbean. Cutting the agriculture import bill into the Caribbean by 25 per cent by 2025.”
“It means that our agricultural products, because we’re going heavy, must be able to move by air and the ones to move by water, in bulk, must be able to get to the various destinations. So, it’s a massive build out and layout in terms of what’s taking place,” Edghill further noted.
Among the allocations in Budget 2023 are the provision of $136.1 billion for work to enhance roads and bridge networks. A number of transformational projects are included under this heading, including the new Demerara River crossing.
The construction of the new Demerara River bridge is being done by China State Construction Engineering Limited. The bridge will land aback Nandy Park, EBD, and at La Grange, West Bank Demerara (WBD).
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.
The bridge, which features a bicycle lane, will 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. Back in November 2021, Cabinet had granted its no-objection for the Chinese company to construct the bridge using a Design-Build-Finance (DBF) model.