Hunter Street reopens as 3-lane road after months of closure

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Hunter Street – one of the main access roads from the East Bank corridor into Georgetown – reopened to vehicular traffic on Tuesday after upgrade works, totalling $150 million, were completed.

The former two-lane street, which had remained closed for several months, forcing drivers to use community streets as a detour, has now been reopened as a three-lane road. The government, the traffic department of the Guyana Police Force and residents believe that this will go a far way in easing the traffic congestion experienced on a daily basis along the East Bank of Demerara.

Matthew Vieira of Vieira 66 Logistics (left) and Minister of Public Works, Juan Edghill, at the ribbon-cutting ceremony (Photo: News Room/May 11, 2021)

Apart from delays imposed by poor works being executed by the initial contractor – Surrey Paving and Ideal Engineering – variations to the project also caused some delays.

Minister of Public Works, Juan Edghill, said the variations on the road, which has a speed limit of 50km, included the construction of culverts and a seamless connection to Mandela Avenue.

Notwithstanding, Edghill said with the termination of the first contract and the hiring of a new contractor – Vieira 66 Logistics – there were not any cost overruns.

“This morning it is with a sense of pride that we open this road and we look to continue to bring service to all the people everywhere,” Edghill said.

The newly refurbished Hunter Street (Photo: May 11, 2021)

Apart from the construction of new concrete drains to address the issue of flooding and road widening, the height of the road was increased and new pavements were constructed along with other geometric improvements.

With work already started, the minister promised to have the road fully lit with street lights. He said the community street in Alexander Village and West Ruimveldt, which were used for detour purposes over the last year, will also be repaired within the coming week by the Ministry’s Force Account Unit.

“To those who will question when will we do your road? My simple answer is: your turn is next,” the minister told the gathering at Hunter Street for the simple ribbon-cutting ceremony.

He said too that more permanent and durable markings will be added to the road within a few weeks by the contractor.

He made a special appeal to motorists to use the road with “care and caution… ensure the safety of yourselves and other vehicle users and pedestrians and cyclists.”

Works ongoing to install street lights on Hunter Street (Photo: May 11, 2021)

Edghill said he is proud to know that the ministry took a chance with Vieira 66 Logistics, which had never built a road before, to complete the project.

“If you never give someone a chance, how will they get experience? Vieira 66 Logistics was the most responsive bidder and while they never built a road before we are now standing on a completed road,” the Works Minister added.

The initial contract of $86.6 million was awarded in May 2019 to Surrey Paving and Ideal Engineering for the geometric improvement of the street, which included raising the level of the road above the drains to prevent flooding and the upgrade of the sidewalks. The works were initially slated to conclude in December 2019.

With the termination of that contract, Vieira 66 Logistics was hired to complete the road at a cost of $99 million.

In total, $150M was spent.

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