$500M approved for road maintenance countrywide

The National Assembly last week approved $500 million to execute maintenance works across the country.

Minister of Public Works, Bishop Juan Edghill, said that these works represent the prioritising of the safety of road users.

Minister of Public Works, Bishop Juan Edghill

This amount forms part of the $33.3 billion allocated to the public works ministry from the over $61 billion supplementary funding.

Of this amount, $25 billion was allocated to construct/rehabilitate community roads, $2.57 billion for works at Kingston Goods Wharf, Kumaka and Port Kaituma Stellings, $2.1 billion to construct the Wismar Bridge, $1.5 billion to construct/rehabilitate hinterland roads, $1 billion for urban roads, $600 million for sea and river defence works, $568.7 million for works on the Demerara Harbour Bridge, $230.59 million for the Transport and Harbours Department, $79 million for the Berbice Bridge Company Inc. to subsidise travel, and $32.7 million for emergency works on Supenaam Stelling.

The minister, responding to questions posed by opposition members during the consideration of Financial Paper No. 3 at a previous sitting of the National Assembly, explained that a portion of this amount will go towards maintenance works along the East Bank corridor, stretching from the Houston bypass to the Cheddi Jagan International Airport.

This work will be undertaken by the ministry’s Special Projects Unit.

“If we continue to have significant encumbrances on the shoulders of roads that are not being drained, water can’t get off when there is rainfall, people are blocking drains, and the rest of it, we will have deterioration of roads. We have to do weeding and cleaning, and the removal of shrubs and grass and the excess waste and garbage that is dumped at the shoulders and drains. It is under this programme that we do those kinds of works,” he said.

For the year, a significant amount of work has already been done in this regard, enabling the smooth flow of traffic.

The budgetary allocation for the maintenance of roads was some $2.7 billion, and this supplementary amount of $500 million will cater to an expanded work programme.

Providing a breakdown of this supplementary amount, Minister Edghill said that roughly $200 million will be expended to purchase asphaltic concrete, while $150 million is expected to fund the maintenance of the road network and several main thoroughfares in Georgetown and Region Four.

Some $80 million is set aside for maintenance works along the East Bank public road.

Additionally, the maintenance of road shoulders and roadside infrastructure in Regions Two, Three, Four, Five, Six and Ten is expected to cost approximately $70 million.

“The entire programme of the Irfaan Ali-led administration is expanding our road network, reducing travel time, giving people greater access and ensuring in some instances, that we take people out of the mud and slush that they have been living in for years,” Minister Edghill reiterated.