Monday, September 26, 2022

World’s fastest-growing economy moves to slash transportation costs, travel time with US$115M IDB loan

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Guyana, the world’s fastest-growing economy, has received a US$115 million loan from the Inter-American Development Bank to improve the quality, accessibility, resilience, and safety conditions of transportation networks, thereby improving travel time.

The project-specific objectives are to reduce the Golden Grove-Timheri corridor as regards transportation costs and travel time. The project will entail making the infrastructure climate resilient, including by reviewing associated drainage designs to prevent flooding. The programme will also promote efficiency improvements in the sector by incorporating the works into road maintenance management systems, investing in technology for works construction and road safety management, and by building capacity at the Ministry of Public Works.

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Specifically, OilNOW understands that the bank is preparing a new loan operation for the upgrading of the East Bank Demerara (EBD) Road from Grove to Timehri (23.5 kilometers). The loan operation follows on from the recently completed four-lane widening project from Providence to Diamond (5 km) also financed by the IDB. Grove is the neighbouring village on the southern side of Diamond. So, the project, when completed, would provide an improved road corridor from Georgetown to the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) located at Timehri. The Grove to Timehri section of the EBD road was last rehabilitated and widened in 1996 through a loan operation financed by the IDB and although there have been maintenance interventions over the years the road has reached the end of its design life, as evidenced by a progressively deteriorating pavement structure with cracking, rutting and potholing in places.

Therefore, the project will require the presentation, by the beneficiary, of a set of studies, such as the feasibility of the programme, the socio-environmental management system (including updating existing and drafting new assessments and management plans and carrying out stakeholder engagement processes) that is required for compliance with the IDB Environmental and Social Policy Framework (ESPF) as well as with national law, among other assessments. Several of these studies will be financed by this loan. Likewise, the bank will finance studies on transport, related to cross-cutting themes such as gender, adaptation to climate change, and technology, among others.

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Since the discovery of oil and gas offshore Guyana in 2015, there has been a dramatic rent increase in the Guyanese economy. This has manifested itself in a marked increase in vehicle registration i.e., increased traffic on the national road network, as well as in a construction boom. In this context, the Government of Guyana has embarked on a large investment effort with the assistance of its international lending partners to upgrade and revamp infrastructure in the country.

This consists of interventions in the case of transport of critical coverage, capacity, and quality upgrades of its road network, which include actions for rehabilitation, improvement, conservation, as well as strengthening of the capacities of the authorities.

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