– Want employment opportunities
The Ministry of Public Infrastructure on Tuesday held a virtual public consultation with more than a hundred tuned in, during which it presented the proposed design for the intended new Wismar Bridge at Linden, and faced questions over the environmental impact of the bridge and opportunities for employment.
The Government presented the proposed design for the bridge, by Italian Consultancy firm, Politecnica. Four design options were presented, the Ministry said: “Option (A) proposed a half-through arch bridge; (B) a composite steel-concrete girder bridge; (C) a modular girder bridge; and (D) a pre-cast concrete girder bridge.”
The preferred solution, the Ministry said, is the last one, a preference which took into account the aesthetics, socio-economic impact, technical challenges, navigation of the river and cost.
“The new bridge will feature two traffic lanes, shoulders, LED street lighting, pedestrian walkway, roundabouts at the two entrance points on the eastern and western sides of the river, vehicular and pedestrian underpasses, guard rails and a toll station. The new bridge will be 210 meters in length, and have a maximum vertical clearance of more than 11 meters to allow for vessels wishing to navigate the river south of the new bridge. The new bridge is being designed according to the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Standards.
This will allow for heavy vehicles that will come from Brazil to access Guyana’s seaport on completion of the Linden to Lethem road.”
The Government registered concerns from the consultation attendees about how the Bridge would affect aquatic life, and the effects of air and noise pollution.
This led the moderator and environmental management specialist, Marciano Glasgow, to point out that the consultancy team is currently working on an environmental management plan to ensure that any harsh impacts of the project are mitigated.
In addition, the residents also expressed that they would like to see employment opportunities result from the construction and operation of the new bridge in the future.
Notably, there is already a bridge there which has been used for years and has a rich history. There were questions about what would be done with the old bridge.
“Suggestions were made for the old bridge to be used by pedestrians, pedal cyclists, and persons with disabilities. [Chief Transport Planning Officer ] Mr. Thompson however advised that no decision has been made yet about the future use of the old bridge. One resident, Mr. Clinton Hollingsworth also suggested that multiple accesses be made to access the bridge to reduce accidents,” the Ministry stated.
Politecnica was represented by Team Leader, Francisco Reina; Project Director, Alessio Agori, and Social Specialist, Valentino Shal.
Plans for the new bridge were announced two years ago, and National Procurement and Tender Administration Board (NPTAB) records show that bids had been made since early 2019.
Politecnica had asked for US$700,000 to conduct the feasibility study and prepare the design. It was then contracted.
An August 2018 article from the Department of Public Information had stated that the amount would be $919.3 million (US$4.4 million). However, such a price tag is likely to change once the design is finalized.
Subject Minister, David Patterson, sought authorisation from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for the construction of the bridge, in September last year.
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