Public Infrastructure says road will now be closed at 6pm today (Thursday)
After hours of heavy traffic congestion on the East Coast Demerara (ECD) Highway on Thursday morning which sparked much public outrage, officials of the Public Infrastructure Ministry were forced to cease works on the installation of an arch at the head of the UG Access Road.
The Guyana Police Force had issued an advisory late Wednesday evening, informing the public that the ECD Highway between UG Access Road and Ogle Access Road will be closed to vehicular traffic between the hours of 08:00hrs and 21:00hrs to facilitate the installation of an arch at the eastern entrance to Georgetown.
However, persons criticised the management of the project, saying that adequate notice was not given to the public and so many did not know of the on-going works until they ended up in the midst of the congestion.
Commuters travelling on the East Coast were stuck in traffic for as long as four hours in some cases. Many took to social media to vent their anger about the poor management and ill-conceived execution of the project, opining that it should not have been done during the peak driving hours.
Moreover, reports are that as a result of the works persons missed their flights at the Eugene F. Correira International Airport as well as the ferry to neighbouring Suriname. There were also reports of students who missed the sitting of their Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examination as well as pregnant women in labour being stuck in the traffic.
Nevertheless, a release during the course of Thursday from the Department of Public Information (DPI) explained that the fabricator of the arch was late in its delivery hence the installation was done today and not last weekend as was originally scheduled.
It was further noted that the sponsor of the structure, Ansa McAl limited, wanted the arch be installed in time for an upcoming event this weekend.
“A local company is funding the arch… (and) the company has an event on Saturday May 13th, and is keen to have the arch installed for the event,” the release stated.
The DPI went onto say in the missive that Government regrets the inconvenience caused to commuters and assured that “…every effort will be made to minimise the disruptions to traffic as the arch is installed.”
However, the Ministry of Public Infrastructure in a subsequent release stated that “East Coast of Demerara highway between UG Access Road and Ogle Access Road will be closed to vehicular traffic from 18:00 hrs (6pm) on Thursday, 11th May, 2017 to complete the instillation of the Arch at the Eastern Entrance of Georgetown.”
The arch at the UG Access Road in Turkeyen will demarcate the entrance into Georgetown, representing the northern Greater Georgetown. A similar arch was installed at Agricola, just on the outskirt of the East Bank Highway, last year. It was donated by Banks DIH Limited and was a gift for Guyana’s 50th Independence anniversary.