A MASSIVE boom of infrastructural and manufacturing developments are on the cards for several Region Three (Essequibo Islands/West Demerara) communities, as ongoing works are moving pace on a new four-lane highway from Schoonord to Crane.
President, Dr. Irfaan Ali, on Thursday, led a team of government officials and private sector stakeholders to the communities of Ruby, Parfaite Harmonie and Tuschen, where he engaged residents on several major projects being rolled out to better the lives citizens.
For decades, residents living on the “West Side” have complained about the tedious commute from the region to the capital city, Georgetown.
The President reassured persons that the project will not only create room for development of the business community, but also make the lives of residents much easier.
“This is urgently required for our commuters who are utilising this main highway. The first phase was to get to this area. Why? Because from Crane to the Harbour bridge is where the bulk of the traffic backs up in the morning, taking some persons three to three and a half hours to get to work in Georgetown,” Dr. Ali said.
Preliminary works have begun on the highway, with many acres of land already being cleared and other infrastructure being put in place.
“This will bring tremendous ease; we are hoping by June next year that this new four-lane highway will be completed, connecting Crane to Schoonord.
“The contractors are working aggressively, they are working in the nights there, we also have works going on at all the different sections at Schoonord itself,” the Head of State added.
The construction of this particular road, however, is a component of a broader plan to modernise the region’s infrastructure and create myriad alternative and more convenient linkages.
“Region Three is one of the regions where we are not only having a great population push because of the housing development, but also the type of industrial development and development connected with the oil and gas sector is also taking effect in the region,” Dr. Ali said.
At the centre of the modernisation plans are the construction of a new ‘fly-over’ Demerara Harbour Bridge, which will stretch from Nandy Park on the East Bank of Demerara (EBD) to La Grange, and the construction of the Wales gas-to-energy project.
“…west of here is where the gas-to-shore project will come in and continue all the way to Wales, where the power plant and the liquid plant and the industrial manufacturing development will be. So, this corridor is going to be very, very important,” President Ali said.
A 12-inch pipeline, which will stretch some 200km from offshore, will be used to transport natural gas from the Liza Phase One and Liza Phase Two Floating, Production, Storage, and Offloading (FPSO) vessels offshore, to the power plant and Natural Gas Liquids (NGL) facility which is being constructed at Wales.
COMPROMISE FOR DEVELOPMENT
In order for the project to become a reality, several residents gave up private lands for the construction of the highway.
“We want to thank all those private land owners who worked so closely with us understanding the development needs of the country,” the President said.
He added: “We were able to have a good comprise and solution in moving this project forward…a few months ago this was all paddy field and today you can see the transformation.”
Now, with contractors working aggressively, all preliminary works are anticipated to be completed by the end of this year.
“By December of this year, we are hoping to be in a position where all the preliminary works, the sand filling and all the structures would have been completed and we will just be pouring the highway coming all the way up,” Dr. Ali said.
In September of last year, contracts to the tune of $11.8 billion were awarded to several contractors by the Ministry of Housing and Water for the construction of a four-lane highway.
Some 32 contractors had submitted bids for the project. Eight contractors had been shortlisted and awarded contracts to construct various sections of the highway.
Once completed, the project will see the construction of 4.1 kilometers of a dual carriageway reinforced concrete road with an emergency lane as well as 2.4 kilometres of road rehabilitation and upgrade.
It will also feature two roundabouts, 11 reinforced concrete box culverts, 36 pre-stressed bridges, and road signage and markings.
The highway will pave the way for more job creation as the project will facilitate the expansion of the agricultural sector, making room for processing facilities as well as manufacturing and the construction of industrial complexes.