Mechanical woes delay retraction of Harbour Bridge
Shipping companies will now have to wait until Thursday to clear their backlog of vessels as the Demerara Harbour Bridge Corporation (DHBC) works to fix a mechanical problem with the floating structure.
General Manager Rawlston Adams told reporters on Tuesday during a joint press conference and meeting with shipping agents that the team worked until 22:00hrs on Monday evening to diagnose an issue it discovered with the bridge at the weekend.
Adams and his team had suspected that there was a problem with the gearbox attached to the winch which allows the bridge to open and close however, after hours of searching, the fault was found in another part of the mechanism.
“We isolated the problem to the shaft on the barrel. When we opened that shaft we realised that the spline on this gear got damaged. Over the years, moisture got in the spline and it got damaged,” he explained.
The Bridge Company is working to have the spline replaced and another one created for backup purposes. The spline is a device that allows movement of the wheel of the shaft. Given that the spline of one o the winches was damaged, the General Manager said his team will soon have to work out a plan for closing the bridge to marine transit in order to get the other winches examined for similar defects.
“If we should decide to check all the winches now, it means that we will have to close the bridge down for marine traffic for probably a day or two to facilitate that,” he said, noting that they have not yet made any definitive plan.
As a result of the current problem, the bridge will be opened to marine transit until Thursday and this will pose many setbacks for the various shipping companies.
Adams said the Bridge Corporation will be working with the shipping companies to adjust their schedules.
“Obviously, we have to push everything back. You can’t now, because you are booked for Thursday, and we are now starting on Thursday, you gonna jump in front of the line,” Adams explained.
He said all of the vessels will have to push back their shipment and the revised schedules will b made available to the respective shipping agents. Adams noted too that the bridge would be opened twice on Thursday and Friday to allow the backlog to be cleared.
This issue will not affect the flow of vehicular traffic on the bridge.