Contractors given final warning to complete Eccles to Diamond highway by August

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With the initial deadline passed for the completion of the Eccles to Diamond four-lane highway on the East Bank of Demerara, President Dr Irfaan Ali on Thursday issued a final warning to contractors for the project to be completed by the end of August.

And September 10, 2023, has been set aside as the date for the commissioning of the highway. President Ali made this disclosure as he inspected ongoing works and engaged contractors and engineers on-site following his return from Belgium.

The contract for the $13 billion project was awarded to 12 contractors in December 2021. The project was slated to be completed within 18 months, which would have been by April 2023.

President Dr Irfaan Ali engage contractors of the Eccles to Diamond Road Project (Photo: Office of the President/July 20, 2023)

Reasons were not proffered for the delay; works are being executed in 12 lots and include the construction of more than 30 reinforced concrete bridges, two roundabouts, and a total of 9.4 km of reinforced concrete road.

President Ali said with the exception of one lot for which the contract was terminated and three others that were extended, all other lots should have been completed by now.

“Anything beyond this date [August] is non-justifiable and liquidated damage will be applied,” President Ali warned.

“We are not tolerating any excuse for non-completion of works. Both the engineers and the contractors will be held accountable,” he said.

Ali said the contractors who are lagging behind will have to implement a 24-hour shift system.

“…Works that are behind, I expected to see systems in place, at least a three-shift system for this to be done…This is for engineers who are not ensuring that the systems are put in place,” President Ali said.

Works are ongoing on the new Eccles to Diamond Highway (Photo: Office of the President/July 20, 2023)

He added, “We had some of the best opportunities based on project implementation within the last six weeks and you are not utilising it.”

According to the President, the highway is 100 percent locally designed, supervised and constructed.

“This is a major four-lane highway…By the end of this year, we will have going both ways…10 lanes from Diamond to Sheriff Street …and then when you look at interconnection…you will have 18 lanes of highway interconnectors between the two highways. So you will have 18 lanes that connect all these communities,” he highlighted.

Currently, the government is investing $8 billion in community roads along the East Bank of Demerara and another $5 billion is expected to be added to this before the end of this year and the next quarter of 2024.

The four-lane highway forms part of the alternative East Bank Demerara road link which is expected to significantly reduce traffic congestion on the East Bank corridor.

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