Diamond-Ogle bypass roadThe much-anticipated bypass road linking the East Bank Demerara corridor to its East Coast counterpart is well underway.Civil works have commenced, according to Head of the Public Infrastructure Ministry’s Works Services Group (WSG), Geoffrey Vaughn, who has said engineers from the India-based consultancy firm RITES Limited have already started preparatory works.In an interview with Guyana Times, Vaughn explained that consultants from the company arrived in Guyana about two weeks ago, and have since been holding meetings with stakeholders and looking at the alignment before redesigning the project.“Remember, this project was initially a (Ministry of) Housing project and they would have done (the design) based on the housing sector. You’re now looking at it as a major carriageway, so it’s obvious that the consultants would have to review all of that. The design criteria will be different, so that’s what the Indian contractors would be doing, as well as re-looking at the alignment which we have done,” he noted.Vaughn said the Indian consultants and the MPI engineering team have commenced surveying works, and have done a walk-through of the area (backlands) through which the road will be cut.Vaughn noted that there is a buzz of excitement about this project since it would provide a much-needed alternative than travelling through the usually congested Georgetown.Public Infrastructure Minister David Patterson revealed early last week, during a local radio programme, that the bypass road would also be connected to key communities in Georgetown and along the East Bank of Demerara.“We (will) have connections, starting at South Ruimveldt and North Ruimveldt; the next one would be at Houston, the third would be at Mocha, and then all the way up to Diamond. So those five villages or wards will connect directly to (the bypass road) and the first phase will carry you all the way up to Diamond/Grove. So therefore persons can have an alternative coming in,” Patterson noted.The Public Infrastructure Minister went on to say that Government is also looking at extending the bypass road from Diamond all the way up to the Linden/Soesdyke Highway, but that would be at some time in the future. He said preparations to have a feasibility study done have already started.Back in 2016, Finance Minister Winston Jordan signed a US$50 million loan with the Export-Import (EXIM) Bank of India for the construction of a 20 kilometre road from Ogle, on the East Coast of Demerara, to Diamond, on the East Bank of Demerara.Since the Indian Government is funding the project, it is required that the contracts be awarded to companies from that country. As such, RITES Limited was selected to conduct the study and design the bypass road.The feasibility study is expected to last for a period of between 10 months and one year, after which works will commence on hiring a contractor for the construction phase.However, during an interview earlier this year, Minister Jordan had told Guyana Times that he does not foresee this project being fully completed before 2020.In an effort to reduce traffic congestion for commuters on the East Bank of Demerara, which leads to the country’s main port of entry – the Cheddi Jagan International Airport — the previous People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC) regime had been working on constructing an ‘East Coast to East Bank’ bypass road, and had sought funding from the Indian Government in 2015.The following year, after there was change in the administration of Government, Minister Jordan had signed off on the loan.