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Guyana to upgrade key roads with IDB financing

Loans totaling $66.2 million for investments in key corridors, road safety and urban transport study

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) announced the approval of $66.2 million in financing to Guyana for a program to upgrade and maintain key road corridors and improve safety conditions of its national main road network.

The Guyanese government has invested heavily over the past two decades to develop the country’s transport infrastructure. Most main roads in the 3,995-km road network are in fair condition but there are few sections that require extensive maintenance. The capital of Georgetown and sections of the main road network faces increasing traffic congestion due to the vehicular fleet’s growth and the expansion of housing in the outskirts of the city.

The IDB-backed program, which includes resources to strengthen the executing agency, the Ministry of Public Works, is expected to enhance urban and suburban mobility and safety by reducing travel times, vehicle operation costs and accidents along key roads such as the Sheriff Street-Mandela Avenue corridor, which crosses the city.

The bulk of the program’s resources will finance civil works to rehabilitate, improve, expand or construct roads and streets; rehabilitate bridges and culverts; build sidewalks, bicycle paths and bus stops; widen road shoulders and incorporate parking lanes and other features that will help traffic flow more easily and increase safety for pedestrians and cyclists, including medians, traffic lights and road signage.

The program will also finance a comprehensive study of urban transport in and around Georgetown. Besides diagnosing current and projected traffic conditions, trends and problems, the study will make specific recommendations on options to allocate road space more efficiently among users, and promote the use of cleaner and more sustainable modes of transportation, such as buses and bicycles.

In addition, the program will support the design of a road safety action plan that will diagnose the current situation, and identify key risks and opportunities for improvements that will help bring down traffic accidents and fatalities.

The IDB financing consists of $33.1 million, with a 30–year amortization period, a 5 ½-year grace period and a LIBOR-based interest rate, and $33.1 million, with 40-year bullet repayment and a fixed annual interest rate of 0.25 percent. The Guyanese government will contribute $3 million to the program’s budget to finance routine maintenance of main roads and safety features, such as, signage and line markings.

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