East Bank road works to be fast tracked

East Bank road works to be fast tracked

The pace of the construction of the East Bank Demerara four-lane road is expected to be hastened as the Work Services Group (WSG) is moving ahead with support from the power and telephone companies in addressing the challenge of utilities hindering the project’s execution.

There has been sloth in the multi-million dollar project stemming from the need for the removal and relocation of public utilities, such as power poles, gas line, telephone lines and utility poles, from within the project area.

According to General Manager of the WSG, Geoffrey Vaughn, the unit is in the final stages of wrapping-up discussions with the utility companies with regards to resolving these issues. “We had a meeting with the Guyana Telephone and Telegraph (GT&T) company last Friday (July 5) and coming out of that meeting we are hoping to come to a consensus in terms of the removal of the utilities especially the GT&T cables,” he said

And with regards to the issue of the Guyana Power and Light (GPL) poles, Vaughn said this process of removal and relocation is moving smoothly. He said that the power company has already moved approximately 90 percent of its poles from the project area.

In terms of the actual project itself and the progress that is being made, Vaughn said that it is now seeing some progress in terms of execution. “There is still some slothfulness in terms of execution, but we are pushing along with the consultants to ensure this project moves a little faster, at a pace where we can see some resolution of the problems and the difficulties, in some instances that the commuters face on a daily basis,” he said.

On the issue of the traffic congestion as a result of the project, he said, “most of the time you must realise that some of the issues stem from the amount of vehicles trafficking the area at that time as well. We know for a fact that they are doing the drains, and there are times when they have materials being transported that slow up traffic, but we are trying our best at the Ministry to ensure those hiccups and those problems are resolved.”

The East Bank Demerara four-lane road expansion project spans about 5.2 kilometers starting from the Guyana National Stadium at Providence, going up to the Diamond intersection. It is being executed in three lots. Lot One from Providence to the Covent Garden Water Treatment Plantis being done by Dipcon Engineering, Lot Two from the Water Treatment Plant to Little Diamond by Gaico Construction and from Little Diamond to Diamond Intersection by BK International.

According to Manager of the Roads and Bridges Department, Ministry of Public Works, Ron Rahaman, Lot One is 30 percent completed.

“The contractor has almost completed the excavation of the drains on the eastern-side of the carriage-way; it is already placed with white sand fill. It is about 90 percent completed with installation of width drains and it is about 85 percent completed with the sand-fill soil charged.”

Rahaman said that in certain sections, Dipcon has already started removing the soil charges following he required waiting period. “The six months have elapsed, the contractor is now removing the soil charge and he has commenced the placing of the sub-base material. Once that is successfully completed, he would then go on to the base material which is a cement stabiliser material and then the road will be asphalted.”

Rahaman said that other than this, Dipcon has commenced and completed two reinforced concrete culverts and has also started the construction of one reinforced concrete bridge. The concrete drains predominantly on the eastern side of the Bougainville Housing Scheme are under construction and of recent, he has started some concrete-way in the Farm area.

In terms of scheduled completion of this Lot of the project, Rahaman said that this aspect is expected to be completed in the first half of 2014. “There were significant delays in terms of the relocation of utilities…in another month or so we expect to see progress of work pick-up and we are hoping to complete in the first half of 2014,” he said.

In terms of Lot 2, the progress is about 38 percent completed. This aspect of the road-expansion is where Gaico is constructing a new carriageway in the cane fields on the eastern side of the East Bank road. Rahaman said that carriage is about 70 percent completed. “The contractor has finished placing the sub-base material. He is currently putting preparation in place to come up with base material-which is the cement stabilise base. He has also started the construction of two reinforced concrete bridges, and once those bridges are completed we expect to see the eastern carriage-way asphalted before the end of this year.”

Meanwhile, he admitted that BK International’s work in Lot 3 has been significantly delayed by utilities issue and that the progress of work is just about 15 percent completed. Rahaman said however that, “the contractor has completed all of the excavation, completed putting white sand filling in about 80 percent of the excavation area, and has now started the placement of the sub-base material.”

He identified one of the challenges to this lot as being the construction of the new bridge by Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL.) He said the construction of this new structure will be one of the challenges that BK International will be faced with in terms of traffic management.

Rahaman also commented on the issue of traffic congestion noting that at this point of the project, the contractors are not doing road works.

“We have done some analysis and what it has shown is that while at this point in time there are minimum delays because of the contractors, what we found is that the hire-cars and the minibuses when they are stopping, they are not stopping off the lane, they are stopping in the lane and it causes everybody to back-up.”

He also said the trucks using the road-way which are slow moving vehicles are aiding the congestion. (Story by GINA)

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