‘Hassle-free travel’ – $109M Wauna road project welcomed

─ “Nothing used to run here, but today everything running”- Pensioner Edward Ramsammy

─ road 80% complete; Dec. 2020 deadline in sight

DPI, Guyana, Thursday, August 1, 2019

Enhancing accessibility in hinterland regions through road building is a key operational feature of the Coalition Government, but the real impact of roads is often seen through the eyes of those that heavily depend on them.

At present, the Ministry of Public Infrastructure has invested approximately $109M to construct a roadway in the Region 1 communities of Wanaina to Wauna. Edward Ramsammy, a 75-year-old pensioner and subsistence farmer lauded the roadway which is 80% complete. After living in the Wauna for 25 years, the senior citizen said no repairs or upgrades have ever been carried out on the road.

“Nothing used to run here, but today everything running here,” Edward exclaimed. According to the elderly gentleman, having a properly constructed road is necessary since it makes his journey to uplift his pension hassle-free. “I feel so happy because it’s easier for me now to walk out from here to the bus-shed to catch a bus,” the pensioner told the Department of Public Information (DPI).

Further north of the road, Diana Sankar who teaches at the Wauna Primary School said her daily commute has now improved. “If I want to go somewhere, I can walk freely as compared to before when I had to be stepping over mud,” Diana revealed.

On one of the hills in which grading of the road is being done, DPI spoke to Hinterland Engineer within the Public Infrastructure Ministry, Jeffrey Walcott who explained the features of the thoroughfare. “Currently, the width of the road was widened to about 24 feet… the guys did an extensive amount of slope control,” Walcott explained.

According to the engineer, the slope control works were done to facilitate water runoff and also to better manage the complexity of soil within the area. As such, the hill was one of the most challenging components of the project. “It was destroyed because of the trucks and all the traffic that was passing through,” Walcott indicated.

As construction winds down, the engineer laid out the progress made and what needs to be done. “The contractors have finished most of the prep work. They are actually at the base level. So, all that is left for them to do is to base the road with laterite and place it compact,” described the hinterland engineer.

Reflecting on the former state of the Wauna Phase 1 project and the increased convenience that renewed road provides, Walcott stated, “this corridor was really neglected for an exceptionally long time and as a consequence of that, many residents would have gone through a lot of difficulties in terms of accessibility [and] vehicle maintenance costs. So, based on the [road] repairs, we found a lot of persons have greater access to the main [Mabaruma] administrative area as well as their homes.”

The Wauna Phase 1 of the project was completed December last and spans nearly 4km. That project was a $46M investment. Nevertheless, with the completion of the $109M Phase 2 project, the broader mission to connect Mabaruma to Yarkita corridor will move closer to becoming a reality.