…bridge repairs to commence soonFollowing a ‘first-hand’ assessment of the road works along the Puruni-Itaballi trail in Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni), Minister within the Natural Resources Ministry, Simona Broomes has promised to engage agencies and the Natural Resources Ministry on the possibility of fast-tracking the process.The Minister stated that the “miners’ concerns are a priority”. As a result, the visit was made to ensure works are being done, and how the process could be improved.The black water bridgeAccording to the Department of Public Information, Minister Broomes led a team of engineers from the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC); JR Construction Services and Mekdeci Mining Company (MMC). She explained that the Public Infrastructure Ministry collaborated with the Natural Resources Ministry to aid in the construction of the road since Itaballi is considered the gateway to the interior.The contract for works on the trail was awarded to the GGMC and MMC for $89 million. Repairs to the trail began some three weeks ago starting from Pappishou leading out to Puruni Landing; the next phase will then lead from Puruni to Itaballi.MMC Operational Manager Kevin Ramotar explained that the team has been working on the road from Pappishou to Puruni, fixing critical points. He said the decision was made to proceed ‘in-and-come-out’ because the equipment was already in Pappishou, and owing to the deteriorating state of the bridges, the company was hesitant to bring in heavy-duty equipment. Ramotar also noted that the company has considered having two teams working at different points, so as to fast-track works.The Pappishou-Puruni trail The Operations Manager also pointed out that a submission was made to the GGMC for an additional $12 million, since the evaluation was done in March. However, works commenced in September, and owing to the weather and vehicular traffic, the road has deteriorated further over that period.The rehabilitation of eight bridges in the Puruni-Itaballi area was awarded to the GGMC and JR Construction for the sum of $49 million. According to JR Construction Engineer Ryan Ramsingh, works are to commence on eight bridges from October 7.Ramsingh disclosed that the works should be completed in three weeks, since the project involved “remedial works, not full construction; just repair works along the erosion of the road”. He explained that owing to the condition of the black water bridge, the team would start there, and continue along the way. He noted that only if there was inclement weather would the rehabilitation of bridges be obstructed.Minister Broomes said she intended to consult with the Public Infrastructure Ministry on banning ‘big tankers’ from traversing the roads. She pointed to the fact that even when the roads were fixed, harsh weather combined with heavy tankers contribute to the fast degradation of the roads. The Minister also called on residents to be more responsible and ‘hold drivers accountable’ for their reckless driving on the said roadways.The linking of the hinterland to the coastland has been part of the Administration’s vision of a more inclusive Guyana.