Nov 12, 2008 News
Chairman of the Interim Management Committee of Linden, Orrin Gordon, has expressed concern that additional works to be executed on the Mackenzie/Wismar Bridge would require even more money than had been initially allocated.
According to Gordon, in addition to the $114 million already allocated for the rehabilitation works, it is estimated that a further $130 million is required to complete the present project.
Gordon pointed out that initially, only the midsection of the bridge was earmarked for rehabilitation, but upon closer examination of the structure as work progressed, it became evident that additional work would have to be done to other sections of the bridge.
“We should not raise the present limit of 28 tonnes, until such time that repairs are completed,” the IMC Chairman declared.
He further reported that with the additional works to be undertaken at greater cost, he doubts that the bridge would be completed by year end.
In a recent letter to Minister Robeson Benn, who is responsible for Works and Hydraulics, Gordon had pointed out that the bridge is too important to be treated lightly, bearing in mind its importance in connectivity between the southernmost parts and coastland of Guyana, as well as the South American connection.
He had also pointed out that trading from this area accounts for more than 20 per cent of the nation’s GDP.
Several studies were conducted on the condition of the bridge, and its capacity to accept traffic from the neighbouring countries. The Linden Economic Advancement Programme (LEAP) had dealt with the possibility of widening the bridge to accommodate two-way traffic, according to reports.
Gordon had noted that as it stands now, the bridge cannot be widened without major infrastructural works, a project that would require nearly US$15 million.
At a bridge committee meeting held last Friday, Horace James of the Linmine Secretariat and the IMC Chairman, both of whom, though not members of the committee, recognized the seriousness of the condition of the bridge and decided to attend. The present state of the bridge was demonstrated and discussed, including the rehabilitation works completed so far.
According to Gordon, piers 1, 4 and 6 were in a ‘terrible state”, as the bridge had not undergone any major maintenance since 1991.
Work has since started on piers 6 and 4, with piers 8 and 1 left to be done.
“The entire bridge bottom has to be sandblasted in order to fully comprehend the scope of work to be undertaken, as weathering and dust emissions from the nearby bauxite plant, has resulted in significant corrosion, which ultimately, could lead to structural failure of the bridge, Gordon pointed out.
He reiterated the urgency with which this vital piece of infrastructure should be treated, in order to avert a serious catastrophe; bearing in mind what transpired on the Demerara Harbour Bridge recently as a result of structural damage to certain components of that bridge.
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