Minister Sharma examines progress on ECD road expansion

Tuesday, October 22, 2019 – The Minister within the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, Honourable Jaipaul Sharma yesterday, October 22, 2019, visited the East Coast Demerara (ECD) road to examine the progress made on the ongoing expansion.

Minister Sharma was accompanied by a team of engineers from the Ministry as well as representatives from the contracting firm, China Railway First Group.

During his visit, the Minister had a firsthand look at some of the ongoing works, particularly the construction of bridges, completion of the roads and installation of street lights along the Highway.

The contract for the road expansion was signed in December 2014 under the previous administration. However, actual upgrades to the road commenced in 2017 and were scheduled to be completed in September 2019.

A major factor that has contributed to the delay in completion of the project was traffic management, coupled with the extended rainy season. According to the contractors, they could not have worked at the pace they desired as this would have caused a backup in traffic along the site. It was explained that the works required the road be demolished before rehabilitation commence. This would have caused the traffic to move slower at certain points.

The contractors also pointed to the late delivery of materials by suppliers as another factor contributing to a slower pace of work. The removal and relocation of utilities within the project area similarly added to a delay in the completion of road works.

Due to the unforeseen circumstances experienced, the road works are now projected to be completed by December 31, 2019. The contractors assured Minister Sharma that they are equipped with the manpower and equipment they need to perform the task ahead. The project will see about 7.4 kilometres of road from Better Hope to Annandale being upgraded to a four-lane structure and 9.5 kilometres of the two-lane road from Buxton to Belfield being rehabilitated.

The Minister was told that the road works are currently about 80% completed. More specifically he heard that three bridges along the expansion sites are to be completed as well as the installation of street lights, traffic signals and road markings.

So far, about 70 street lights have been installed and are working. Approximately 100 more lights are to be installed along the four-lane road and about 205 will be placed on the two-lane road.

Over at Mon Repos, Minister Sharma inspected the works conducted at the market tarmac to facilitate the vendors. He observed that not many stalls were occupied, but, was told that vendors usually make use of their stalls during the weekends mostly to ply their trade.

Minister Sharma said he was satisfied with the execution of works, despite the constraints faced by the contactors.

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