DHB anchorage not serviced since 2008; close to $500M needed for repairs
The anchorage of the Demerara Harbour Bridge is a critical component and if its integrity is hampered in any way, the Bridge would not be able to function effectively.
According to the General Manager of the Bridge, Wayne Watson, speaking exclusively to News Room on Thursday, that key component has been neglected for years, leading to the issues currently being faced.
Watson pointed out that the last time maintenance works were carried out there, was back in 2008.
“As a result of knowing that, a diver was summoned to do some inspection and that led to the mountain of repairs that needs to be done,” the Harbour Bridge GM explained.
Now more than 10 years later down the line, the anchorage is in dire need of repairs. Those repairs, he said, will run the government close to $500 million.
When asked to point out what some of those repairs would entail, Watson further explained: “We have to replace some blocks because over time, due to the silt, the diver could not locate some of the blocks.
“The chain that links the buoys to the block, these need to be replaced, and also wire rope replacement for the wires that hold the buoys to the pontoon,” he added.
This is coupled with other critical works needed to upkeep the Harbour Bridge until the new high-span, four-lane structure is in place.
Minister of Public Works, Juan Edghill, had stated that approximately $1.2 billion is currently being spent to replace the damaged retractor span ‘9’ of the Harbour Bridge; that contract was awarded to Industrial Fabrication Inc (InFab) to replace the 170 feet long, 40 feet wide section.
Those works are about 30 per cent complete.
The 43-year-old structure has already outlived its lifespan and is showing signs of serious wear and tear.
For years, the Harbour Bridge has been plagued with mechanical issues and accidents, causing chaos at both ends as thousands of commuters rush to cross, resulting in major traffic congestion.
But plans are moving ahead with the construction of the new Harbour Bridge. The pre-qualified bidders have until October 5 for the submission of their bid proposals for either the Design-Build and Finance option or the Design-Build-Operate and Finance option.
The government is expecting the new structure to be delivered 24 months after the signing of the contract.
It is intended that the new structure will land at Nandy Park on the East Bank of Demerara and Meer Zorgen/La Grange on the West Bank of Demerara.