GEORGETOWN, Guyana (Friday, March 26, 2021) — The Demerara Harbour Bridge — which connects East and West Demerara — will only facilitate light vehicular traffic, not exceeding 18 tonnes, following damage to its structural integrity of span nine.
Minister of Public Works, Bishop Juan Edghill, said these guidelines are in effect from yesterday afternoon, following an inspection of the damage.
“We have satisfied ourselves that if we release one truck at a time on the bridge, as against several trucks, both going and coming at the same time, we would be able to alleviate some of the problems that we currently face,” he explained.
Minister Edghill added that the new system will put on hold, special crossings that were done to facilitate vehicles weighing up to 22 tonnes; noting that the changes must be strictly implemented, by the staff employed at the bridge, and any deviation will be met with disciplinary action.
Amid this traffic arrangement, engineers and other officials will strategise on future steps to be taken to address the damage.
“The technical team that is assembled will go back to the drawing boards, do the necessary testing, engineering, designing, to come up with a solution, and we should have a solution, within 72 hours,” Minister Edghill said.
The Minister maintained that no retraction will be allowed, until that meeting is held, today.
Minister Edghill also pledged to consult the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board, with Ramcharitar, to expedite the rehabilitation of span nine, in keeping with procurement laws.
To this end, he urged citizens to be patient, while his Ministry seeks to repair the bridge.
“I would like to appeal to all the owners and operators of trucks to exercise patience. We don’t want to interrupt commerce. We don’t want to interrupt people’s lives and livelihood. We are committed to ensuring this bridge stays afloat, while we advance the process for the new four-lane, concrete, high-span bridge.”
Minister Edghill said overladen vehicles, and the application of brakes after speeding on the bridge, are contributory factors to the damage on span nine. Under budget 2021, $890 million was approved to purchase 20 pontoons and rehabilitate span nine of the bridge.