Farmers welcome $53M De Hoop access road upgrades
With works progressing quickly along the De Hoop Access Road, farmers are in high spirits over the long-awaited $53 million in upgrades that have begun on the thoroughfare.
Earlier this month, Minister of Public Works Hon. Bishop Juan Edghill visited the worksite and implored farmers to adhere to the weight restrictions for vehicles to preserve the road.
Framers told DPI the dilapidated road has been a major bugbear for years, causing them to incur substantial expense, with no corresponding benefit, particularly as the cost of living increased. Mr. Ewort Bourne said residents had made numerous requests to the authorities, over the years, for the road to be fixed as it hampered production for both rice and cash crop farmers.
Mr. Phillip Seecharan, a farmer with approximately 75 acres of rice lands said, “this [upgrade] doing real good because is pure hole all over. We can’t get to travel… breaking up the car and suh, tractor and everything.”
He added, “If the road nah good, how you ah go the backdam? We can’t get fuh go the backdam.”
Another farmer, Mr. Rameshwar Deonarine who owns 22 acres of rice lands and cultivates one acre of cash crops shared similar sentiments.
“The state was very, very bad. Some deep, deep hole shaking up the vehicle a lot, damaged up my front wheels, springs and shocks,” he said.
Besides saving on repairs to his car, Mr. Deonarine anticipates the upgraded road will also cut the time taken for his daily commute.
“The time factor you tek for come out and go in, it does tek long. Now with the road gonna do smooth and good, you could mek it in a faster time,” he added.
For rice farmer Mr. Desmond Kanhai, who manages 200 acres of crop, the road is being rehabilitated at the right time since it was on the brink of worsening.
He has kept a watchful eye on the works, noting, “Right now, they are doing a good job. I see they are overhauling it and they are doing alright.” The project started on December 2 and is scheduled to be completed in March 2021.