Takutu River bridge a priority
-- Prashad assures
December 5, 2006
BRIDGING the Takutu River is undeniably a government priority, Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce, Mr. Manniram Prashad has assured residents of Rupununi in Region Nine (Upper Takutu/Upper Essequibo).
Reporting on a speech he made Saturday at the opening of ‘Rupununi Expo 2006’, the Government Information Agency (GINA) said he reiterated: “The bridge will be built.”
“We have all the assurances from neighbouring Brazil. It will offer a multiplicity of opportunities for citizens of both countries,” Prashad reported.
He said bilateral talks on the construction are still ongoing between President Bharrat Jagdeo and his Brazilian counterpart, President Luiz Inacio Lula Da Silva.
“The future of Guyana is inextricably linked to the Rupununi region and that is why so much attention is being placed in the development corridor,” Prashad informed hundreds of Guyanese and Brazilians at the annual event.
GINA said the Tourism Minister on Sunday visited the proposed site for the structure, at Lethem Industrial Estate in the Tabatinga area, which is also identified for a multi-purpose complex that will house Immigration, Customs, Police and quarantine offices to facilitate the movement of people across borders when the bridge is completed.
The overpass is one of 335 projects earmarked by the Integration of Regional Infrastructure in South America (IIRSA), an initiative by South American governments to construct a new infrastructural network for the continent, including roads, waterways, ports and energy and communications interconnections, GINA reported.
The agency said pillars of the bridge have been erected but construction was stalled in 2001. However, during a visit by President Lula, in February 2005, it was stated that the project is a priority for both governments.
GINA said the latest designs for the erection have been completed by the Brazilian military and are being reviewed by the National Department of Transport Infrastructure (NDIT) Structures Coordination Committee in that country, for quantitative verification.
Once this revision is concluded, the designs will be submitted for final approval by the control entity, GINA said.
According to the agency, Transport and Hydraulics Minister, Mr. Robeson Benn is expected to participate in a meeting of the Executive Steering Committee of IIRSA, billed for Quito, Ecuador, on December 13 and 14.
Meanwhile, the feasibility study on the Bon Fin-Lethem-Georgetown Highway is likely to be undertaken in the first quarter of 2007, provided that funding is approved by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), GINA said.
GINA said, if approval is given, IDB will provide US$900,000, while the Guyana Government will contribute US$225,000 towards the cost.