New Harbour Bridge projected to cost US$170M
-study proposes 250% increase in toll fees
The final report from the feasibility study into the new Demerara Harbour Bridge has noted that the project cost of the low three lane bridge at Houston – Versailles is estimated at US$150 million, including contractors cost and additional costs for services, land acquisition for the approach roads, and limited budget for a first phase of link roads.
However, the study further noted that the total required funding will be US$170 million, including the interest for pre-financing cost during construction.
The report was released to the media today by the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, which contracted a Dutch Company, LievenseCSO to execute the feasibility and design study.
In its report, the study also recommended toll tariff rates to be increased to 250 % of the present 2017 road toll rates. “Toll for river vessels to be increased to 700 % of the present rates (which have not been increased recently). In this way the Government contribution will be limited to about US $ 39 million to be paid in 5 years after commissioning of the Project and the Project becomes viable,” the study advised.
According to the report, the recommended project has from a financial point of view limited safety margin and many factors are still uncertain.
“This include among others, the contract costs of the D&C contractor, the final funding costs and interest, the uncertainty in the traffic forecast and thus the revenues, claims and force majeure. Therefore, it is recommended to adopt a flexible development strategy to control risks in cost and revenues by scope management, as this is the only way to influence the costs of the project. This includes minor items like the link roads and viaducts over the bank roads, but even the consideration to accept two lanes if such is the only way to realize the project. Another recommendation is early contractor involvement.”
The study further made it clear that as soon as the new bridge is in operation, the old bridge will be closed and demolished. The proposed location for the new three lane bridge is Houston/Versailles. As such, the company advised the government that some issues to be resolved are the resettlement of some houses, and efforts to minimize the impact to the Muneshwer terminal as well as to the PSI Fishing terminal adjacent to the bridge.