– retraction to halt after today; barge contemplated for heavy vehicles
There will be more emergency works on the Demerara Harbour Bridge (DHB) with the last retraction expected today and with contemplation of the introduction of a barge to transport heavy vehicles.
Minister of Public Works, Juan Edghill, yesterday convened a meeting of a high level technical team that included Minister of Home Affairs, Robeson Benn, Jerry Mark Goviea of Industrial Fabrications Int.; Marcel Gaskin from Marcel Gaskin & Associates Ltd; Ret’d Specialist in Bridges and Designs, Joseph Holder; former Major of the Guyana Defence Force and former Design Engineer at the Ministry of Public Works, Bhageshwar Murli; Demerara Harbour Bridge(DHB) General Manager, Rawlston Adams and other engineers from DHB.
According to the Ministry of Public Works, it was decided that a “time sensitive engineering solution” is being finalized.
Today, at 8:30am, engineers will facilitate and supervise a retraction of the bridge to allow for marine traffic. After this opening, marine traffic will be unable to pass for a few days since “aggressive work” will be untaken, a statement said.
The bridge is a critical link for vehicles between Region Three and Essequibo to the East Bank and the capital city. It is, however, more than 40 years old and unable to efficiently manage the thousands of vehicles crossing daily as well as retract for river crossings.
There are moves to build another structure but it will be years before it comes into operations.
With regards to recent news that emergency repairs have to be done because of structural issues, the ministry urged that motorists strictly observe the speed limit which is currently 20 mph.
“Alternatives emergency arrangements for heavy vehicles are being contemplated by way of use of a barge. The high-level Team will continue to conduct daily reviews and if needs be, twice daily, so as to ensure that the works to be done are completed in a timely manner taking into account the importance of this structure and its necessity to commuters.”
According to Minister Edghill, the crisis as it relates to the structural integrity that exist and identified has been known since 2016 and the matter was raised several time by the engineers to the then Ministers of Public Infrastructure, David Patterson and Jaipaul Sharma, as well as, the Minister of Finance.
Minister Edghill expressed “disgust at the recklessness, mismanagement and mal administration that caused such neglect leading to this current situation.”
The ministry said it will continue to engage the management of DHB and is also appealing to all stakeholders, marine vessels and motorist to be patient at this time.
“Interruption of vehicular traffic will be announced by the management of Demerara Harbour Bridge in a timely manner.”
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