Construction for the first phase of the Linden-Lethem Road is expected to commence without a hitch as the Ministry of Public Infrastructure and the UK Government work closely towards its success, government announced on Tuesday.
The first phase of the project covers approximately 122.5 kilometers of road from Linden and the construction of a bridge across the Essequibo River at Kurupukari River. This phase is being funded by the United Kingdom Government through its UK Caribbean Infrastructure Partnership Fund (UKCIF) programme and is currently in the design stage.
As part of the collaboration with the UK Government, the Ministry of Public Infrastructure said the Guyana government is seeking to engage a multi-discipline and transport sector-experienced consulting firm to assist in the preparation of a two-component capital project. The components for this capital project include the upgrade of approximately 122.5 kilometers of road between Linden and Mabura Hill (including drainage) and construction of a new single or dual lane fixed bridge across the Essequibo River at the Kurupukari ferry crossing( approximately 600 meters long).
While the proposed road upgrade applies only to one section of the Linden-Lethem road, the capital works on the remaining 331.5 kilometers of the laterite road will be undertaken through funding from other sources. “The remaining capital works would fall under additional phases and the Ministry of Public Infrastructure has already engaged the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) on possible funding for the stretch of road between Mabura Hill and Lethem,” the Ministry of Public Infrastructure said.
Last week, Minister within the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, Hon. Annette Ferguson, met with officials from IsDB on the project and another team is slated to return to Guyana for further discussions.
The final cost of phase 1 of the project is not yet known but will be determined by the detailed design study being funded by the UKCIF.
Meanwhile, the Ministry is optimistic about the success of the project. According to Mr. Patrick Thompson, Chief Planning and Transport Officer, the Ministry and the UK Government are working closely together to ensure that the project progresses smoothly.
“We’ve received very favourable responses so far and we are feeling very optimistic about the progression of the first phase of this project,” Mr. Thompson said. He added that construction can commence in as soon as eighteen months.