Deplorable Sheriff/Mandela road to be upgraded with asphalt concrete in coming weeks

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Almost a year after works were stopped on the Sheriff/Mandela road, Public Works Minister Juan Edghill announced on Wednesday that the upgrade has recommenced and citizens can expect to see the paving of the road with asphalt concrete by the end of the year.

Drainage works, road widening works and bridge structures are currently being addressed.

The US$66 million project, which is funded through a loan by the Inter – American Development Bank (IDB) was shut down over non – compliance with environmental standards in November 2019.

The IDB had stopped payments to the Chinese contractor, Sinohydro Corporation Limited, for several infringements.

While the Committee of Supply considered a $553 million expenditure spent by the Ministry of Public Infrastructure between January to September 2020, Edghill said the project which started before 2015 when the APNU+AFC took office should have been completed by now.

“Work was not halted on the road only because of COVID, there are other reasons where they were not in compliance with environmental standards and the IDB shut disbursement down, it was badly managed,” he said.

“It is still not delivered,” Edghill said, explaining that since he took office in August he was briefed on the matter and has taken steps to have work restarted.

“I am happy to let the nation know that work has restarted,” he added.

He said with the contractor back on the job, two other sub-contractors are back working on the bridges.

Edghill said any issues with getting specialists from China will be resolved with the Civil Aviation Authority already committing to facilitate specially chartered flights.

“We will not use COVID-19 as an excuse for none delivery of service to people of Guyana,” he told the House.

The project will see the upgrading of one of the most critical road links in the country – one that connects the East Bank to the East Coast.

Edghill was also critical of the APNU+AFC’s management of the East Coast Highway expansion, saying that the project is also still incomplete although it was commissioned by the former government.

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