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Asphaltic concrete production set to increase

Junior Finance Minister, Juan Edghill ( centre) looks at the proposal for an asphaltic concrete plant that was presented to him by Keith Lewis (right). Looking on is Region Six parliamentarian, Jafeer Alli.

Berbice could soon begin producing more asphaltic concrete if an investor wins approval to build a plant to the tune of GUY$100 million and bring down the cost of what he says is a high quality road construction material.

Shortly after handing over his proposal to Junior Finance Minister, Juan Edghill at Belvedere Village, East Berbice, Keith Lewis said he was already negotiating with a United States-based company to supply the plant. Installation can take about four months.

If all goes well, Lewis hopes to erect the plant on 1.5 acres of land in the East Berbice village.  The raw material- Rapid Curing Bitumen- for the asphaltic concrete, he said, would be imported from Trinidad and Tobago.

He first has to acquire the land and secure approval from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for the plant which would be operational for 30 days per year to satisfy current demand. Proposals will also be dispatched to Commerce Minister, Irfan Ali and the Guyana Office for Investment (Go-Invest).

When constructed, the asphaltic plant would be the fifth of its kind in Guyana and could produce at least 400 tons daily.

Lewis explained that some roads made from Double Bituminous Surface Treatment (DBST) last a mere three to six months with loads from five to six ton trucks. He said that those built with two inches of asphaltic concrete can endure up six years under pressure from the same truck tonnage.

“I see it as the future for upgrading roads in Berbice and other parts of Guyana…The asphaltic concrete will stand up, will hold better especially in the rural areas,” he said.

With  Guyana’s projected demand for asphaltic concrete expected to be about 50,000 tons, Lewis hopes to sell his product at GUY$30,000 per ton- that’s about GUY$13,000  less.

During the Junior Finance Minister’s visit to Berbice, he inspected several major coastal bridges that are under construction. He said all of them must be completed before October when the contracts come to an end.

A key reason given for the delay in a number of instances was the shortage of steel and stone. He also addressed concerns about an apparent construction flaw in the bridge at Belladrum, West Coast Berbice.