Not all traffic lights will be in place for world cup
-only arrived in country yesterday By Heppilena Ferguson
Stabroek News
March 10, 2007

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The long awaited installation of new traffic lights at some 50 junctions across the city will not be finished in time for the cricket world cup games and the authorities may have to resort to giving priority to the route leading to the stadium at Providence.

According to Public Works Minister Robeson Benn, the lights only arrived in the country yesterday and so were not yet in the hands of the relevant authorities.

Most of the traffic lights in the city have been inoperable for several years now and the government had been recently urged to do something about this in time for the Rio Summit and the World Cup.

Speaking with Stabroek News yesterday, project engineer Kadri Parris said that as of now workmen have completed in excess of 85% of the road cuts for the purpose of placing conduits to allow cables for the traffic lights.

He noted however the work was delayed to some extent for security reasons during last weekend when Guyana hosted the 19th Summit of the Rio Group. However he said the grounding of posts for the lights should start next week. The first world cup game will be played in Guyana on March 28 and hordes of tourists and cricket fans are expected to descend on the country prior to this.

When asked whether the majority of lights could be up and running in time for the games, Parris said the project was on schedule and according to him its duration runs into the month of April. "So while we're working to expedite the process and see how fast we could finish, we have to ensure that we maintain engineering integrity," he explained.

Parris said however that they have to decide to make those areas along the route to the stadium at Providence, priority areas.

When the installation deal was signed with the Indian firm CMS Traffic Systems Limited, the Government Information Agency (GINA) in a statement had said that the work was scheduled for substantial completion by February and "should be fully operable by March." The lights are being procured and installed under a US$2.1M line of credit from the Export-Import Bank of India under an agreement inked between the governments of Guyana and India on November 7.

Traffic lights will be installed at intersections at Camp and Lamaha streets, Vlissengen Road and Homestretch Avenue, Church and Main streets, the East Coast Highway and Courida Street, the East Bank Highway and the Eccles access road, Mandela Avenue and Hunter Street and on the Ogle Airstrip road and the railway embankment road.

Earlier in the year more than $240M was spent to plant 424 street lights from Better Hope to Golden Grove along the East Coast Demerara Highway.

However, Carifesta Avenue which currently has no road lights had become a cause for concern for many.

Yesterday, Minister Benn said he was not sure whether anything could be done in that area at the moment and whether resources were available to put lights along that stretch of road.

Meanwhile, lights have also been installed from the Russian Embassy to Better Hope, along the Mahaica-Rosignol Highway, at the Mahaica and Mahaicony bridges and approaches, from Timehri to Republic Park, from the Ruimveldt Police Outpost to the Demerara Harbour Bridge and from the bridge to Vreed-en-Hoop and from the Kitty pump station to the Seawall Bandstand.