‘Curfew paving’ among remedies to address poor Sheriff Street traffic flow

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Contractors carrying out upgrades to Sherriff Street and Mandela Avenue on Wednesday reached an agreement with the Ministry of Public Works to commence paving during the curfew hours of 22:30hrs to 4:00am in a bid to remedy the disruptive traffic flow on a daily basis.

During an inspection of the Sherriff/Mandela Road project, Minister of Public Works, Juan Edghill, said that while he is satisfied that the works are moving ahead from a once stagnant position, he is unhappy with the prolonged disruption that commuters are forced to endure.

It is against this backdrop that the agreement has been reached to do the first level of paving to bring relief to drivers.

Minister of Public Works, Juan Edghill inspects the road works at Sherriff Street and Mandela Avenue (Photo: March 24, 2021)

“The whole traffic is slowed up. On a daily basis, you have a backup of traffic so my instruction is to get on with this work,” the minister said while speaking to the media at the junction of Sherrif Street and the Railway Embankment where a roundabout is being constructed.

Starting from next Monday, contractors will commence the “curfew hours paving” on the street from the roundabout to the National Cultural Centere– Sherriff Street and Homestretch Avenue.

“This will give the road movement again and is part of moving the work forward. It is a significant activity that should help with the pace,” Edghill added.

Edghill also used the opportunity to assure drivers that the current waves on the paved areas of the road are not permanent and will be rectified in the final paving. Notwithstanding, he said the technical team has identified a number of areas where the work is not of the quality expected and will write formally to the contracting firm – Sinohydro Corporation Ltd.

Works ongoing at Sherriff Street and Mandela Avenue (March 24, 2021)

“These things must be fixed, we need value for money and get it in good timeline,” the minister said while noting that his visit was not to engage in a fight with the contractors.

Earlier in the day, the News Room caught up with the Sinohydro Corporation Project Manager, who explained that although the road works were moving ahead, it was still stalled in some regards.

Since recommencing work last September, the contracting firm said it has been working to complete the drainages works, which is critical to the entire project. While road widening has commenced, the placement of crush and run and paving is largely dependent on the completion of drainage works.

The Project Manager said the relocation and replacement of several pipelines belonging to the Guyana Water Inc. have caused some setbacks in that regard.

“At Mandela Avenue, we have some challenges with GWI pipework… hopefully we finish all of that by the end of this month and then we can start road widening,” he explained.

Works ongoing at Sherriff Street and Mandela Avenue (March 24, 2021)

Taking everything into account, including the inclement weather, the contracting firm said the August 4, 2021 deadline, which was in place since last year, seems unlikely.

“By August, I don’t think we may be able to complete all the works due to the holding by GWI pipes but I will try my best to finish all the works,” he added.

The Sheriff Street – Mandela Avenue roadway was constructed in the 1970s.  The ongoing project is presently being funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) to the tune of US$31 million and was originally contracted to Sinohydro, which has since subcontracted companies to complete the work.

The US$31 million project was launched in 2018 but was subsequently halted when the Coalition government threatened to take the project from the Chinese contractor.

It restarted when the government changed in August 2020.

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