Linden-Lethem road network…Region 10 officials voice security, maintenance concernsThe move to rehabilitate and construct roads as part of the Soesdyke-Linden Highway and Linden-Lethem road network could see up to 1300 trucks traversing on a daily basis in addition to local traffic.This is according to Project Director and team leader attached to design/consultancy company Beston/SRKN’gineering, Stuart Hughes.The company has been contracted by the Public Infrastructure Ministry to conduct feasibility studies and detailed designs for the major rehabilitation of the Soesdyke-Linden Highway as well as upgrades to the Linden-Mabura Hill road and the construction of a river/bridge crossing at Kurupukari. Hughes noted that this figure is according to data the company has received from the Ministry.Hughes stated during a consultation with officials from the Region 10 (Upper Demerara- Berbice) Regional Democratic Council (RDC) that the company has to look at a design which caters for the entire Lethem corridor.Hughes said the company also has to look at the weight and axle loads of Brazilian trucks since bridges would have to be designed to ensure that they support the weight of these trucks. Similarly, he said the roads will be designed to facilitate local container trucks.Regional Chairman Renis Morian alluded to issues such as security, noting that with the Brazilians having easier access, there might be a need for a security plan to be put in place.Social and Gender Specialist Vanda Radzick, who is working along with the team, noted that recommendations coming out of nearly every stakeholder meeting conducted thus far is for a fully trained 24-hour highway patrol system to be present and a place where all regulatory agencies are set up. However, the Regional Chairman expressed concern over “back roads” which he noted can be used to avoid checkpoints as he called for more advanced systems such as drones to be put in place.Concerns were also raised over the lighting of the Soesdyke-Linden Highway which is expected to be carried out prior to the commencement of the rehabilitation project. Project Manager attached to the Public Infrastructure Ministry, Dionne Amsterdam said consultants will make recommendations on the most feasible option in this regard. Owing to past issues such as theft, Amsterdam said the lights may not be reachable when installed.Councillor Charles Sampson also voiced concerns about lumber and sand trucks which utilise the highway to get to sawmills located along the stretch. In many instances, he said, the curb walls and edges of the roadway are broken by these trucks. Hughes also posited that major issues occur once the curb is broken.“We would have to look at a solution for people who have to access the highway, both for the existing accesses and for the future…we have to come up with a design that will actually ensure that it does not erode away those individual accesses,” he said.Meanwhile, Councillor Gordon Callender pointed out that persons are digging sand pits at the side of the highway in close proximity of the carriageway, as he asked for methods to be put in place to cushion the effects. Hughes said this is a major concern which has been brought up at every stakeholder engagement. In this regard, Radzick said the company will be sending these complaints to the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission since it is the regulatory body.