Rains may affect hydraulic change operation at DHB
Heavy rainfall on the coastland is now a factor the Demerara Harbour Bridge Corporation (DHBC)’s management has to consider when setting a date to change its western hydraulic ramp. According to General Manager, Rawlston Adams, management wanted to conduct the operation on either May 19 or by month-end. The exact date would have been decided following discussions with the companies that would be affected with the bridge closure to marine transit.
He added that management is now faced with rainy conditions, which make it unsafe to carry out welding works [that require electricity].
Two Sundays ago, management of the DHBC commenced a six-day operation to change the eastern hydraulic ramp. That operation was completed within three days and prudent planning was attributed for that success.
The hydraulic ramp is the section of the retractor span that lifts off the acceptor span, allowing the bridge to retract to facilitate the passage of large ocean-going vessels.
According to Adams, utilizing the extra three days to change the western hydraulic ramp was discussed. But it was discovered that the exercise would have utilized more days owing to the transportation of materials. This could have been problematic for companies that depend on the river to transport cargo.
Instead of transporting the components for the western hydraulic ramp via the bridge, management will be using the river. Adams disclosed that discussions are ongoing with wharfs to allow DHBC to load the components onto a pontoon.
“The components would be floated in the river and all the crane has to do is go down to the side and load on and off components…It would have taken two days to mobilize the resources and three days to finish the work. We have to do the work with the companies in mind,” the General Manager asserted.
Another plus for these operations is that the contractor, InFab, when it was Industrial Engineering Ltd, had removed and installed the hydraulic ramps some 15 years ago. That operation saw the bridge being closed to both vehicular and marine traffic.
“When the hydraulic ramp of the bridge was built, the second section was a whole section, that is why when they were installing…. because of the fact it was 3.2 metres by 7.6 metres wide and spans the whole bridge…if you are taking it out there is no way you could allow traffic on one side while you work on the other,” Adams said.
The recent operation saw InFab changing the design for the hydraulic ramp – it is divided into two and a steel beam was placed to support the ramp. This allowed the contractor to better manage the components.
The DHBC grasped the opportunity to change over 40 deck plates that were under the hydraulic ramp.
A major part of the operation was traffic management. According to Adams, constant meetings with the Guyana Police Force Traffic Chief and senior officers aided the smooth flow of traffic.
The bridge was also forced to forego revenue collection to clear traffic build-up last week Tuesday evening. He stressed that from about 19:00 hrs, for about one-and-a-half hours, vehicles passed without purchasing tickets.
Adams stated, “We can’t always look at the money aspect… This infrastructure is to move people, goods and services in an efficient manner,”
He added that some persons chose not to travel via the bridge during the three-day period to avoid the traffic and that too contributed to loss of revenue.