In the past five years, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has found that more than 100,000 new vehicles were registered in Guyana with 1,176 vehicles occurring every month. In one of its recent project documents, the financial institution said this sharp increase in the number of vehicles on the road has resulted in roads becoming congested, giving rise to the need for the new oil producing country to urgently upgrade its road networks to ensure efficiency.
The country’s Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) 2030 sets the foundation for the Road Transport Investment Programme which seeks to address the road corridors that run parallel to the Atlantic and parallel to the Demerara River along with the connection to Brazil via the Linden-Lethem Road, connecting the two main airports.
Work has already commenced toward this end. The first phase of 7.7 kilometers from Ogle, East Coast Demerara to Eccles, East Bank Demerara (joining the two corridors), is expected to commence in 2022. At estimated value of US$100 million, the project is being funded by the Government of India.
Additionally, the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) is financing the 80 km rehabilitation of the Linden Soesdyke Highway.
The Caribbean Development Bank is financing the 122 km US$190 million Linden to Mabura Road.
Furthermore, in 2022, US$73 million from the national budget will improve roads in all the 10 administrative regions in the country.
The Bank was keen to note that the oil boom has allowed the Government of Guyana to embark on an expanded investment effort to upgrade and revamp infrastructure, which in the case of transport, consists of road networks.
The Bank noted as well that it has since intervened with US$115 million to assist the country with its infrastructure goals. The programme will upgrade 23.5 km of the East Bank Demerara (EBD) road from Grove—on the outskirts of Georgetown—to Timehri by the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA). The corridor supports key value chains including fertilisers, manufacturing, food-processing, construction materials, mining, and forestry.
The intervention is the first section of the integration corridor that connects to Brazil via Lethem. The project follows on from the recently completed four-lane widening project from Providence to Diamond (5 km) financed by the Bank.
The Grove to Timehri section of the EBD road was last rehabilitated and widened in 1996 (via an IDB loan—Number 890/SF-GY11) and although there have been maintenance interventions; the road has reached the end of its design life as evidenced by a progressively deteriorating pavement structure.
Under the LCDS 2030, Guyana has already made strides to encourage imports of electric vehicles and low emissions vehicles through the utilisation of tax breaks. However, there is more work to be done to establish the infrastructure for the widespread importation of EVs to be feasible.