Linden-Lethem road greenlighted by Iwokrama
─Funding for Phase 1 already secured
DPI, Guyana, Tuesday, December 10, 2019
As construction approaches for the Linden-Lethem road, the Iwokrama International Centre for Rain Forest Conservation and Development has given its blessings for the project to go ahead.
“The Iwokrama Board [of Trustees] has approved the landing of a bridge into their protected area. So,no impediments stopping us [from moving the project forward],” remarked Minister of Public Infrastructure Hon. David Patterson on DPI’s One on One programme.
Nestled in the centre of the country, Iwokrama’s rainforest is protected under its 1996 Iwokrama Act. Therefore, government and the private sector need approval for any development works within the zone.
The bridge will be built at the Kurupakari crossing to link the Linden-Lethem road overland. At present only a pontoon service at the crossing enables commuters to travel along the route and this comes with its constraints since the service is exclusively available between 6am to 6pm.
Feasibility studies and designs for the Linden-Mabura portion of the Linden-Lethem road and the Kurupakari crossing were completed by the Mott McDonald consultancy firm. This was made possible after securing monies through the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) under the UK Caribbean Infrastructure Fund.
Minister Patterson lauded the consultation process that sought feedback from residents of both the Indigenous and mining communities located between Lethem and Annai.
Government has already secured funding for phase one of the Linden-Lethem road that leads up to Mabura and includes the Kurupakari Bridge. Construction of this stage costs approximately $31Billion.
Phase two will include roadworks from Mabura to Kurupakari, while phase three will run from Kurupkari to Annai, at which point the project will come to an end with phase four extending from Annai to Lethem. The Government intends for the three stages of the roadworks to run concurrently.
At present, regional and international bodies have signalled interest in funding the remaining phases of the project. The Linden-Lethem road will be paved and will represent a significant improvement for transport between the southernmost township and the rest of the country. Already, businesses are gearing up for the expected increased travel.