Linden/Lethem trail…after weeks of outcry from commutersOperators commuting the almost impassable Linden-Lethem trail complain bitterly over its worsening condition as a result of the ongoing persistent rainfall, but Government has announced that works would soon commence on several interior roadways when the May/June rainy season is over.This was announced on Friday by the Natural Resources Ministry, which said that with the support of the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC), it would be moving forward with the maintenance of several roads in hinterland communities that were in a deplorable state. These rehabilitative works will be done also in collaboration with the Public Infrastructure Ministry.At the beginning of last month, six road contracts valued at over $650 million were awarded to various contractors for the maintenance of the Rockstone-Mabura, Kurupukari-Annai-Lethem, and the Linden-Ituni-Kwakwani roads. This is in addition to a previous contract that was awarded to JR Ranch for the Manari Bridge realignment in Region Nine, Rupununi that was valued at $83,003, 620.Particularly, rehabilitation of the Linden-Ituni-Kwakwani Road in Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice) will recommence at the end of the May-June rainy season. The contracts were awarded for repairs to the roads to International Imports and Supplies to the tune of $239.7 million. The contractor has mobilised equipment at site, and marking out of the roads has commenced.Meanwhile, maintenance of the Annai to Lethem Road should commence in the first week of June, pending facilitating weather. For this project, the contractor has submitted all bonds, and the mobilisation advance is currently being processed. The contract for the continuing section of the road from Annai to Kurupukari was awarded on the same date.The roads were identified following discussions with the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association (GGDMA) and several miners and forest operators, whereby concerns were raised that the condition of the roads was hindering their production efforts and costing them more to move supplies in and out of the interior.Concerns raised by hinterland residents during outreaches conducted by the Natural Resources Ministry also guided the decision by the ministry to see its re-engagement into hinterland roads rehabilitation and maintenance.The Linden-Kwakwani road is an important conduit for forest operators, and repairs will also benefit the residents of these two communities and those along the corridor, including the residents of Ituni and Aroaima. The works will include ditching, excavating, section repairs of soft spots, and filling with laterite.In his 2018 National Budget speech, Natural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman had indicated that his ministry plans to work with the Ministry of Public Infrastructure to improve the intricate road network in the six mining districts. Approximately $2 billion has been earmarked so far for repairs under this initiative. This joint initiative of the GGMC, Natural Resources Ministry and Public Infrastructure Ministry is aimed at maintaining and rehabilitating the roads, and providing the physical infrastructure necessary for these operators to maintain production in the extractive industries.Residents are urged to monitor the works in their communities, and to make reports on the progress of these activities.Since the May-June rainy season began, the already deplorable Linden-Lethem trail has become almost impassable, posing risks to commuters. In fact, it was pointed out that, almost daily, vehicles are overturning along the trail, with the most recent incident being on Wednesday.Only last week, commuters had complained bitterly about the condition of the roads, and had called on Government to intervene and repair the sections that are almost impassable. More recently, small operators have called on authorities to suspend heavy duty vehicles from traversing the trail, since those vehicles are further damaging the roads.