Region Seven administration called on to protect new roads
DPI, GUYANA, Thursday, April 19, 2018
Minister of Public Infrastructure, David Patterson has called on the Cuyuni-Mazaruni regional and local officials to be watchful and implement strategies that will monitor effective use of roads in the region.
The Minister made this call at a recent meeting with the officials at the Regional Democratic Council (RDC). Minister Patterson was at the time visiting the area to assess and inspect ongoing hinterland projects. He was accompanied by officials from the Ministries of Finance and Public Infrastructure.
The Minister explained that after the huge sums are expended to upgrade the roads in the region, it is disheartening to see many returned to their prior condition soon after their rehabilitation.
“We are disappointed in the conditions of the roads, coming all the way from the main road knowing that we had given contracts in 2015 to 2017 for works on that particular stretch of road including a bypass, which was asked for by the region, when the garbage dump road was being threatened,” Minister Patterson stated.
While acknowledging that some roads including mining roads may not always be in the ideal of conditions, the Minister advised that it is critical the infrastructure is sustained. “You all have to examine the question of trucks and the weight of trucks on the road. Years ago, prior to the Bartica becoming a township trucks weren’t allowed in the township. So, when we do talk about where we are going we have to start from where we started,” Minister Patterson underlined.
Minister Patterson disclosed that several roads in the region will be tolled following the completion of various road projects. According to the minister these tolls will go directly to assisting in the maintenance and sustainability of the infrastructure. He urged the regional officials to collaborate with the ministry in crafting a road plan.
Finance Secretary, Dr. Hector Butts in concurrence with Minster Patterson stated that public funds are spent for the upgrades, therefore; proper care roads must be maintained.
“If money is flowing into a region or location and it’s not being sustained, that is reflective of those in management not protecting it; this would affect investment. We are looking at value for money, so the infrastructure we put in must be able to last for a while,” Dr. Butts emphasised.
The Regional Chairman, Gordon Bradford embraced the idea of tolling also recommended that there either be barriers prohibiting large trucks into certain areas or special routes for those trucks.
“The trucks are becoming larger and larger and are carrying lots of weight. Most of the damage is done to our four-corners because some of the trucks are so long and they have so many wheels. So, when they turn the wheels would grip and that’s one of the reason you see the degradation…. years ago we had barriers and may have to revisit that idea,” Bradford underscored.
The RC stressed the need for the reintroduction of a maintenance crew and the provision of equipment such as front-end loaders and graders.
In the 2018 Budget, a total of $2.5B was allocated to the region, $2B more than its 2017 allocation. From this amount, $222M was provided for infrastructure.
By: Ranetta La Fleur