Long-overdue US$106M Ogle to Eccles road to slash growing ECD traffic woes

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Years after it was expected to commence, construction of the Ogle to Eccles road link will now start as the government on Friday finally inked the US$106.4 million contract with an India-based company.

The new four-lane road will be built from the intersection of the Rupert Craig Highway and the Ogle airstrip road to Haags Bosch, Eccles, on the East Bank of Demerara (EBD).

And Senior Minister within the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance Dr. Ashni Singh underscored that the road’s construction was coming at perhaps the most opportune time.

“Traffic jams are not only confined to the East Bank,” Dr. Singh said, explaining that East Coast commuters are experiencing more traffic congestion now as more vehicles are being driven.

With the new four-lane road, however, commuters heading to the East Bank and even Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara) will no longer need to travel through the capital city Georgetown.

Dr. Singh noted that the government is locked in long-term urban planning that will see the removal of bottlenecks on the roadways, thereby reducing travel time.

Guyana has now received the US $50 million as a line of credit from India and will be using those funds to advance the project. Permament Secretary of the Public Works Ministry Vladim Persaud (seated at left) inks the contract with Director of the India-based Ashoka construction company Ashish Kataria (seated at right) in the presence of other officials (Photo: News Room/June 24, 2022)

Importantly, too, the Finance Minister said that this project is not divorced from the wider infrastructural transformation of Guyana.

A new Demerara River crossing, the expansion of the East Bank road network and the development of the Linden to Mabura road are other large projects geared at improving connectivity in Guyana.

“Each one of these projects must not be seen as standalone or isolated projects unconnected with an elaborate and comprehensive masterplan for the transformation for infrastructure across Guyana,” the Finance Minister said.

The Indian-based Ashoka Construction Company won the bid for this phase of the Ogle to Eccles four-lane highway after it reportedly offered a five per cent discount within its bid.

Ashish Kataria, a Director of the Company undertaking the project, told reporters on Friday that works should commence in August – the end of the rainy season. Once the project gets underway, it is expected to take about 24 months to complete.

This contract, which signals the official commencement of the project, comes about eight years after Guyana received a funding commitment from India. Several officials including Former President Donald Ramotar (second from left) turn the sod for the project at the intersection of the Rupert Craig Highway and the Ogle airstrip road (Photo: News Room/June 24, 2022)

Public Works Minister Juan Edghill, however, noted that this Ogle to Eccles road link is just part of a larger plan that will unfold in the coming years.

“…the intent is that this must be able to get all the way linking the Ogle International Airport with the (Cheddi Jagan) International Airport.

“This is just one phase,” Edghill explained.

The Public Works Minister also noted that lands aback Ogle will be made available for development following the construction of the road. Currently, those lands are largely unoccupied.

This contract, which signals the official commencement of the project, comes about eight years after Guyana received a funding commitment from India.

Then, under former President Donald Ramotar, a US$50 million loan commitment from the Indian Exim Bank was given to fund the road project. After the change of government in 2015, however, the project was stalled.

Guyana has now received the US $50 million as a line of credit from India and will be using those funds to advance the project.

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