Guyana commissions its state-of-the-art $2.6B concrete highway

The cutting of the ribbon marks the commissioning of the Mandela Avenue to Eccles Highway in Georgetown. From left, Minister of Finance Ashni Singh, Minister of Housing and Water Collin Coral, Prime Minister Brigadier Retd. Mark Phillips, President Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali, Minister within the Ministry of Housing Susan Rodrigues, and Minister of Tourism, Oneidge Walrond.
Photo by Tangerine Clarke

President of Guyana Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali, on April 14, along with Prime Minister Brigadier (Retired) Mark Phillips, cut the ribbon during the commissioning ceremony of a Guy$2.6 billion state-of-the-art concrete highway, that will create linkages to the East, West, North and South of the country.

The Mandela Avenue to Eccles four-lane freeway, the first, of its kind, constructed by the Ministry of Housing and Water, under the Central Housing and Planning Authority, will, in two weeks be equipped with security features to monitor reckless driving. The feature that will also track vehicle speed electronically and transmit the information to the Guyana Police Force and the Guyana Revenue Authority.

Additionally, the feature will be able to identify number plates and the image of drivers and their front seat passengers — even on dark rainy nights — and transmit that information electronically to the relevant authorities. If motorists are found breaking the traffic rules, such as driving above the speed limit, then the information will be used to prosecute them, and their licenses and registration will be revoked, said President Ali.

The speed limit for the new highway is 30 kmph at the roundabout, 50 kmph in residential areas and 80 kmph in open spaces.

The highway when fully completed, will lead to the Cheddi Jagan International Airport, alleviating the heavy traffic on the main East Bank route.

Speaking to citizens, Ali, said the Harpy Eagle that soars upwards, overlooking a roundabout attached to the highway, has strength and fortitude, characteristics that lift the smallest of Guyanese, while protecting the nation. He thanked Peter Pompey, managing director of Brass Aluminum & Cast Iron Foundry Ltd. (BACIF), who designed the 3000-pound structure.

The highway, covered in solar powered lighting, and designed with white concrete, and a median of red pavement stone, was built to withstand heavy capacity traffic, a project Ali said was his brainchild since he was Minister of Housing. He called on Guyanese to protect the construction, that runs through vast housing development.

“We will move forward in one momentum, on this blessed, significant day, Holy Thursday, noting, the Easter season. “May you rise with new hope, and renewed inspiration, and commitment to Guyana,” he said.

Noting that the highway was built to American standards, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of CH&PA, Sherwyn Greaves praised the team of workers, whom he said worked night and day to complete the highly anticipated improvement, President Ali, assured would improve the lifestyle of Guyanese, who will have the opportunity to spend more time with family.

Eight contractors completed the freeway in just over one year. The 2.82 KM, approximate roadway also has parking lanes, sidewalks, 12 reinforced concrete composite bridges, three reinforced concrete culverts and 214 Solar powered streetlamps, said Greaves.

In brief remarks during the commissioning ceremony, Minister of Housing, Collin Croal told fellow ministers, diplomats and guests, that one of the main reasons behind the billion-dollar investment was to reduce traffic congestion along the East bank corridor by providing alternative routes from Georgetown.

He praised the new development as significant since it will increase land value along the new four-lane highway.

Minister of Tourism, Oneidge Walrond, in turn, applauded the project, saying “the fact is we have this beautiful structure, locally produced, by our artist, being showcased. You will see more of this as our structural products are laid out, along with our highways, it adds to the beautification of our country. We no longer must be in North America to enjoy beautiful art like this.”

Minister of Public Service Sonia Parag at the plaque that was unveiled at the roundabout where the Harpy Eagle soars above the Mandela Avenue to Eccles Highway, in Georgetown, Guyana. Photo by Tangerine Clarke

Minister of Public Service, Sonia Parag, stressed the importance of the new highway, that will bring ease getting home, reduce time being wasted for families who would have to sit in traffic, instead of getting an opportunity to serve a hot meal at dinner time.

She explained that Guyanese will be able to get to work on time and leave their homes with ease without having to take breakfast on the go.

“This is a project that will transform their lives. Every project the government has undertaken since 2020, has been for the betterment of Guyanese and the welfare of Guyanese,” said Parag.

“This roundabout and highway, interconnecting, will not only ease the traffic congestion, but it will also enhance the ordinary Guyanese life, because you will now have an easier way to get to wherever you are going, and have an opportunity to make your life a little more comfortable.”

“This is the project that will open Guyana to a lot more communities, as we are placed on the inner map of Guyana. Guyanese will be able to interface with each other, and communities will be able to get together,” said Parag, who stressed the importance of the connecting of communities.

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