Only light vehicles to cross Harbour Bridge following damage to ‘span nine’
The Demerara Harbour Bridge will only facilitate light vehicular traffic, not exceeding 18 tonnes, following damage to the structural integrity of span nine.
“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,” Minister Edghill told the Department of Public Information.
Minister Edghill added that the new system will put on hold special crossings that were done to facilitate vehicles weighing up to 22 tonnes. He said 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.
Additionally, it was noted that Mr. Ravie Ramcharitar, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Demerara Harbour Bridge Corporation, will engage marine agents to devise a new retraction schedule.
The Minister maintained that no retraction will be allowed until that meeting is held on Friday.
Further, Minister Edghill pledged to consult the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board, alongside Mr. 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.