Contract for New Demerara River Bridge to be signed soon
The Demerara Harbour Bridge
A contract for the construction of a New Demerara River Bridge will be signed soon, Minister of Public Works, Bishop Juan Edghill disclosed on Monday.
The announcement follows the ‘no objection’ by Cabinet back in November, for China State Construction Engineering Corporation Ltd. to construct the bridge at a cost of some $51.2 billion.
“At this stage, a specially appointed team is concluding the negotiations and all the administrative details to prepare for the signing of the contract for the new Demerara Harbour Bridge. Between the week before Christmas and today, six such meetings were held and the sun is getting ready to shine brightly because we should have a final contract agreed on in the very shortest possible time,” Minister Edghill stated at his year-end press conference.
The new bridge forms part of government’s drive to expand and modernise Guyana’s transport infrastructure. The new bridge will replace the aged Demerara Harbour Bridge with a modern four-lane structure that will facilitate greater traffic capacity and dramatically improve commuter convenience.
Minister Edghill said government is investing heavily in keeping afloat the old Demerara Harbour Bridge, which was neglected by the APNU/AFC Administration. He described it as a disaster waiting to happen, that would have displaced thousands of Guyanese who use the bridge daily.
“Budget 2021 catered for the rebuilding of a new span nine and for repairs to spans nine and ten as a temporary model…while we are building the new high- span, four lane Demerara Harbour Bridge which we expect to be completed in two years, between that two-year period, we need to keep this current bridge operable,” the Minister explained.
General Manager of the Demerara Harbour Bridge, Wayne Watson said the $1.2 billion project is expected to be completed soon.
Watson explained that, “it was scheduled to finish in December 2021, but because of consideration for users, we are now projecting somewhere between April. In order to replace span nine, the rehabilitation work of both span nine and 10 must be completed which will require some closure of the bridge. The total closure to do the rehabilitation is 16, six-hour closures, to date we have only done five.”
Nevertheless, Minister Edghill highlighted that the old bridge will not be pushed in a corner and left to rot upon completion of the new bridge.
“Sections of the bridge can be used. It can be used in the Kwakwani crossing, it can be used in several parts of the hinterland, maybe some of it can be used at Kurupukari but we are looking at more permanent infrastructure for the Linden-Lethem Road… I can tell you it would not be old iron pushed in a corner. It would be properly used for the development of Guyana,” the Public Works Minister said.