- - Thursday, October 9, 2014

New bridges, new roads, and upgrades of aging roads and infrastructure all are underway in Suriname as the small South American nation undertakes an ambitious development plan.

Hundreds of millions of dollars are being spent, with financing coming from state coffers and outside financing. Hundreds of miles of roads and bridges are being laid or upgraded to accommodate more traffic and heavy trucks.

“Suriname is investing heavily in its infrastructure,” noted Minister of Public Works, Rabin Parmessar.

Construction and improvements of various kinds reflect Suriname’s ambitious development plans, officials say. Policies to boost economic activity are geared towards improving quality-of-life indexes and funding social programs in the former Dutch colony of 542,000 people in the northeast corner of South America.

Highlights of wide-ranging infrastructure are:

• Roads are being paved to connect the capital, Paramaribo, to suburban communities that have sprung up in recent years. With more than half of Suriname’s population living in Paramaribo, the creation of suburbs (and roads to them) will take pressure off the capital.

• By next year over 20 bridges will have been built in the interior. This will improve connectivity between Paramaribo and more remote districts benefitting social and economic life.

• A vital highway called ‘Oost-West Verbinding’ (East-West Connection) runs throughout the coastal area and connects to over six districts and to neighboring Guyana and French Guiana. “This is an important road that is being maintained and improved on a continual basis,” Parmessar noted. “This route is used for transportation of persons and goods in the coastal area, servicing the population that lives in the historically remote areas. In the future the road could serve as the key connection to the South American grid.

• Interconnectivity between Paramaribo and Suriname’s international airport is improved by ambitious plans to upgrade the highway connecting Paramaribo, the international airport and one of the main industrial areas harboring IAMGOLD and Suralco, which will be widened and re-paved to carry increased traffic.

This article was produced in conjunction with The Washington Times International Advocacy Department.

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