Travel time between Lethem and several communities in Region Nine will be significantly decreased as the Government embarks on the construction of the North to Central Rupununi bypass road.
According to the Department of Public Information (DPI), the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) signed a $200M contract with JR Construction Incorporated and B and R Construction for the completion of the road.
The 70-mile long all-weather road starts from Toka Village in the North Rupununi and stretches to Kwaimatta on to Yupukari, through Quatata, Kaicumbay, Fly Hill, then through Parishara, Nappi, Hiawa in Central Rupununi and into Lethem, the DPI reported.
The road alignment has already begun and once completed, the project will benefit some 4,000 residents.
Quoting Minister of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Sydney Allicock, the Government information arm reported that once the project is completed, the time it takes to travel to Lethem to conduct business will be significantly reduced. For example, an hour-long journey from Hiawa to Lethem will be reduced to 15 minutes.
He made this disclosure during a presentation at the North Rupununi District Development Board (NRDDB) meeting on July 18. The event attracted the participation of 17 village leaders from the North and Central Rupununi.
During a consultation on the project earlier in the year, the residents commended the Government’s effort to push ahead with such a significant project which had been in the discussion phase for years. Toshao of Yupukari, Russian Dorrick noted that the project will bring positive economic impact to his village that is one of the leaders in the Tourism sector. He said that the road will ensure easier access to the village, as students will get to and from school on time; in emergency cases, patients will get to the hospital safely and promptly and markets will be more accessible to farmers.
Minister Allicock explained that the Government has recognised the importance of proper roadways in community development since it ensures better access to health care, education and other economic and social opportunities, as well as bringing improved services and supplies to the now-accessible villages.
“The opening up of roads is needed everywhere; we need better roads so that your vehicles could last longer so that you will be able to access markets. The road will run from Lethem through Hiawa and Nappi, and your airstrip can also be developed… and it will be easily accessible, and you will see more activities in your villages, more jobs and more demand for products.”
The construction of the road is part of a larger project to transform public infrastructure in the hinterland. It joins the list of other projects in Region 9, including the Manari bypass which was completed recently; the ongoing construction of the Lethem Township road; the Hinterland Green Enterprise Development Centre also under construction at Bina Hill, Annai; and the Agriculture Research Centre that is to be built; and the Linden to Lethem road construction just to name a few.