Motorists and pedestrians using the East Coast Highway will have to wait a bit longer for works being undertaken from Better Hope to be completed as the deadline will extend beyond 2018.Head of the Work Services Group (WSG) Geoffrey Vaughn told the local media that the East Coast Demerara Road Widening and Improvement Project will not be completed at the end of 2018.In addressing the Ministry’s year-end press conference, Vaughn said physical workThe expansion of the public road at Better Hopeon the project commenced on August 29, 2017 and the duration of the project is two years.According to him, the contractor is expected to complete 1.3 kilometers of the roadway up to the base level before the end of December 2017.“Presently the contractors are working on the extension at Better Hope and they are at the stage of the sub base because foreign objects and the sub base itself have been removed and replaced and we will be moving to the other cases of the structure,” he explained.It was also noted that relocation of Guyana Water Incorporated utilities is 30 per cent completed, while the heightening and construction of drains are ongoing, with 720 meters already completed.The WSG coordinator said it is projected that the project will be 75 percent completed before the end of 2018, but will most likely roll over to 2019 when it will be fully completed.The contract for this project was awarded to China Railway International. The project entails a four-lane extension from Better Hope to Annandale, and two-lane upgrade from Annandale to Belfield with a total length of 16,998 kilometres of roads and 33,996 kilometres of drains to be built.Apart from the road expansion, the residents are also going to benefit from the project, which included improved drainage since the East Coast is usually susceptible to flooding.Initially, the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Government had tried to finance the road expansion project, but the funding was not readily available; hence, the Administration decided to use local funds for preliminary works and use the funds from the Chinese to complete the works.The preliminary works for the four-lane upgrade were completed at the end of 2014. This included the widening of the roads and installation of drainage facilities. The project was divided into seven lots which were awarded to different contractors.Lot one was initially awarded to Falcon Transportation and Construction Services; however, the contract was terminated by the Public Works Ministry in 2012 and awarded last year to Dipcon Engineering Services, which is also tasked with works on Lot Two. The two lots, which covered from Better Hope to La Bonne Intention (LBI), were joined into one.Dipcon also worked on Lot Five (Triumph to Mon Repos). Courtney Benn Contracting Services Limited worked on Lot Three, covering LBI and Beterverwagting. Preliminary works on Lot Four (Beterverwagting to Triumph) were done by Compustruct Engineering Inc.Lot Six covers Mon Repos to De Endragt and was awarded to Colin Talbot Contracting Services. This construction company also handled works on Lot Seven (De Endragt to Good Hope).With the China Eximbank putting up most of the finances for the road expansion, Guyana had awarded the contract to China Railway First Group for some US$42.7 million. The Chinese construction company reportedly put in the lowest bid of US$46.994 million. The PPP/C Administration had stated that it was saving some $2.8 billion by giving the contract to China Railway First Group.Meanwhile, speaking about the East Bank-East Coast Road Linkage Project, Vaughn said it was awarded to an Indian company called RITES, with a design and preparation expected to be completed before the end of December 2018.He said, “We have sent the draft contract to India. They have responded to us yesterday (Wednesday) agreeing to the draft contract. So we should have that draft contract signed onto and works being executed. The cost for that would have been US$1.3 million.India has approved a new Line of Credit of US$50 million for the East Bank Demerara – East Coast Road Link Project under the previous People’s Progressive Party Government.A credit line was extended by India in 2004 with the construction of the Guyana National Stadium and solar traffic lights in Georgetown, some of the projects to benefit.