US $46.8M Vreed-en-Hoop to Parika road project launched

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President Donald Ramotar and officials walking along the roadway after the ceremony to start the Vreed-en-Hoop to Parika Road Project

[www.inewsguyana.com] – The government and the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) on Thursday, March 19 officially launched the US$46.8M, Vreed-en-Hoop to Parika Road Project.

President Donald Ramotar underscored the importance of this huge venture which will not only boost the region’s development, but that of the country.

The launch was held at the Vreed-en-Hoop stelling and witnessed by a large gathering. There are also plans in train, the president revealed for road expansion works on the West Bank Demerara Highway, the Canal Number One and Two roads and several others in the region.

President Ramotar reiterated statements expressed by Public Works Minister Robeson Benn, and called on residents and other stakeholders to care the infrastructural works being undertaken at great expense. He also called on them to be understanding with regards to any inconvenience that may be caused by the road project, as it was “for the greater good” of the region and country as whole.

A section of the Vreed-en-Hoop to Parika Road.

The president further issued a stern warning to the Public Works Ministry to ensure that the contractors complete their jobs within the scheduled time frame, and on budget.

“I’m tired of many of the projects not coming in on time and on budget and this is one of the focus we will have to have. We can have consultants justifying all kinds of delays. We must put in all of their contracts, penalty clauses if these things don’t come in on time and on budget. It is time that we look for quality in every area, not only in the physical infrastructure, but in the manner in which we do things as well”.  

Minister of Public Works, Robeson Benn said the project was conceptualised in February of 2013 and pushed through at the insistence of the president and Finance Minister Dr. Ashni Singh, and his Planning Unit which finalised the funding agreement with the CDB.

There were several factors such as the volume of vehicular traffic, accidents and communities, which were taken into consideration, the minister said.

Describing the stretch of road as the “most critical segment of the national network”, Minister Benn encouraged those responsible to ensure that those who use the thoroughfare “understand what it should be used for and how to use it”.

He said he expects that “significant attention” will also be paid to enforcement with regards to usage.

Remarks were also given by Region Three Chairman Julius Faerber who thanked government for the “long awaited project”, and Surrey Paving and Aggregate Company Ltd Executive Michael Archer who revealed that due diligence studies and initial works were started some three months ago.

Archer added that his company was proud to partner with a local company such as BK Inc., on the project, expressing confidence since similar jobs have been successfully completed in several other Caribbean nations.

On November 22, 2014, government formally signed a US$46.8 million contract with several contractors for varying aspects of the road project. The road network upgrade will see the rehabilitation of the 30.7 kilometre road from Vreed-en-Hoop to Hydronie, catering for widening, separation lanes for cyclists and pedestrians, traffic signs, replacement of the Groenveldt Bridge, relocation of utilities and other ancillary works.

The road works component will be done by BK Inc. and Surrey Paving and Aggregate Company Ltd over a 36- month period. One component comprises a School Road Safety Awareness Programme to be undertaken by TRL Limited at a cost of £252,107.

Another component will be carried out by Geo Tech Vision Guyana Inc., at a cost of US$86,500 over a two- year period. This part will see road safety and drivers’ education sessions being given to residents of communities served by the network. [Extracted and modified from GINA]