How can the 'Oost-West verbinding', the lifeline of the villages of Mary's Hope, Totness and Friendship, be adapted for more traffic caused by the construction of bridges over the Corantijn and Marowijne rivers?
The 'Oost-West verbinding' runs parallel to the Surinamese coast and connects Albina on the Marowijne River in eastern Suriname via Paramaribo to Nieuw-Nickerie on the Corantijn River in western Suriname. On the west side, the road connects to the ferry to Guyana, on the east to the ferry to French Guiana. In the future, the east-west connection should be part of the Pan-American Highway.
The Creole communities of Mary's Hope, Totness, Friendship have developed around this East-West connection, which is not very busy today. The road there is quite narrow and is used by trucks, cars, cyclists and pedestrians. Most facilities such as schools, stores, churches, restaurants, public spaces and a remarkable ensemble of colonial heritage are located along this road.
A bridge over the Corantijn will increase traffic on the East-West connection. On the one hand, this may provide opportunities to the coastal villages by allowing more passage to boost the local economy and fledgling tourism. On the other hand, increased traffic will prevent the East-West Connection from fulfilling its role as a local connecting road and meeting place for cyclists and pedestrians. Moreover, the road will form a barrier between the southern and northern neighbourhoods.
In this master thesis study, together with residents, we will examine how the East-West connection (and/or bypass road) can preferably be reconstructed, and how it should affect the development of the village. Besides socio-cultural, touristic, economic and traffic technical aspects, water management, biological and landscape challenges are also included in this study. To safeguard Coronie's agriculture from flooding, the drainage channels of extensive inland swamps must cross the East-West connection in their route to the ocean. This research builds on the ISTT master's thesis research by Baeyens M., Leys L. and Moftah R. (2022) "Investigating the development of Coronie with the Roman Catholic ensemble as an anchor point." This explored the spatial possibilities of community-based tourism and youth activities.