Harbour Bridge: Repair works on retractor spans 45% complete

--no major closures expected


Repairs works on the Demerara Harbour Bridge (DHB) are moving apace with works on spans 9’ and 10’ already 45 per cent complete, according to the General Manager, Wayne Watson.

Watson told the News Room on Thursday that thus far, engineers have managed to remove and replace the right side “roller cords on span 9” which helps the Harbour Bridge to open and close without a hitch.

Those cords were rusted beyond repair. Watson explained that the last two 8-hour closures were to facilitate the removal of the roller cords on span 9’.

One of the rusted bolt removed from the damaged roller cords on retractor span 9’

He detailed that the contractor had “much difficulty” removing the cords since they were cold-wielded years ago. This meant that the metal pieces were joined without the use of heat by forcing them together that the surface oxide films are disrupted and adhesion occurs.

That process, however, hampered the smooth replacement of the cords, leaving the contractor with no choice but to cut the metal with an oxygen powered torch.

With those cords replaced, the contractor now has to replace the left side cords on span 9’ and the cords on both sides of span 10’.

The General Manager explained too that span 9’ has “the most damage” and now has a weight restriction of 18 metric tonnes.

The Demerara Harbour Bridge (Photo: News Room)

But even with 55 per cent of repair works to be completed, Watson assured that citizens can expect no shutdowns of the Harbour Bridge for the Christmas season except for this weekend – on Saturday at 23:59hrs to Sunday at 06:00hrs.

“I can assure the public of that…what we are doing is to ensure that the traffic flow is not affected for the Christmas season,” he said.

But to also ensure that the repair works continue, Watson explained that engineers from the Harbour Bridge will be working during retraction periods.

The General Manager noted as well that no repair works have commenced on the anchorage of the Harbour Bridge. Those works are expected to commence in the New Year and are set to the tune of $500 million.

Earlier in the year, a multi-million dollar contract was awarded to Industrial Fabrication (INFAB) to repair and replace the damaged retractor spans which facilitate the daily openings for seagoing vessels.

The 43-year-old structure has already outlived its lifespan.

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