Oct 07, 2016 News
Months after it was commissioned by the former Administration – the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C)— the $350M Hope Canal Bridge has been experiencing structural defects thus inconveniencing the commuting
Based on reports, the bridge poses a serious threat to road users who utilise the roadway on a daily basis because the approaches to the bridge are sinking. This had led to depressions at both the western and eastern ends of the structure.
In recent months, road users have pointed to the potential harm the structural defect would cause to persons who are unfamiliar with these depressions on the road surface.
Several minibus drivers have also indicated that due to the depressions, they are putting both their vehicles and passengers at risk.
Minister of Public Infrastructure, David Patterson, during a press conference hosted at the Ministry in Kingston Georgetown, last month, said that a team which was led by the Minister within the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, Annette Furguson, conducted an extensive report on the bridge and a decision was made to have the remedial works go to tender which he had assured, would be in a couple of days.
The Minister had also said that the Ministry will be “reprogramming” some of its funds to make this issue a priority.
The commuting public would be relieved to know that the Minister has delivered on that promise.
Bids were opened on Tuesday last at the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board (NPTAB) for the rehabilitation of the structure.
The engineer’s estimate of $37,384,380 to rehabilitate the structure will to some extent, result in raised eyebrows especially, when the engineer’s estimate to construct a new Nursery School in Mocha, East Bank Demerara, was announced at $34.3M.
With all the evidence shown, it is safe to say that if shoddy work was not done at the bridge in the first place, Guyana could have benefitted from another Nursery School.
Three companies submitted bids for the bridge project.
The bridge was constructed by DIPCON Engineering and from all indication, the company will not be penalised for the structural defects.
In fact, Minister Patterson had stated that the shoddy work was a result of the consultancy firm and not the contractor.
He said that DIPCON would have aired its concerns saying, “What we’re going to build here won’t work”. However, the Consultancy firm said, “We tell you what to build – you build it.”
The bridge is 74.4 metres long and has a 47-metre sloped approach on both sides; it has the capacity to accommodate two-lane traffic, with sidewalks on both sides.
Construction of the multimillion-dollar structure commenced in 2011 however, due to several setbacks, the completion date was rescheduled from July 2013 to end of August of that same year.
As a consequence of several additional “setbacks” the completion date was subsequently slated for December 31. The bridge was completed instead, during the first quarter of 2014.
The Bridge is one of the three components of the US$15 M Hope Canal Project.
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