With new Demerara River Bridge, gov’t to find use for parts of old bridge

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As the government looks to get the construction of the new high span Demerara River Bridge off the ground this year, it has assured that the current Demerara Harbour Bridge will not be old iron pushed in a corner.

Millions of dollars more will have to be spent on the bridge for the next two years until the new bridge, which is currently in procurement, is completed.

During a press conference on Monday at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre, Minister of Public Works Juan Edghill assured value for money on the new crossing and with continued spending on repairs to the current bridge.

Edghill said while he cannot give a definite answer for what will happen with the current bridge, he said parts could be used at rivers across Guyana’s hinterland.

He pointed to the Kwakwani crossing and the Kurupukari crossing.  “It could be used to link Leguan and Wakenaam.

Minister of Public Works, Juan Edghill and an engineer from the Demerara Harbour Bridge Corporation inspect damage to span nine

“It wouldn’t be old iron pushed in a corner… I can assure you that it will be properly put to use and you will get value for money,” Edghill said.

His comments come even as the government continues to expend funds on repairing the current structure, saying it suffered from neglect between 2015 and 2020 and the repairs are needed to avoid a catastrophe.

Some $1.2 billion was recently spent to repair at least two line spans on the 44-year-old crossing, commissioned on July 02, 1978.

Those repairs were scheduled to be completed in December 2021 but are now pegged to be completed in April 2022.

It will see the bridge experiencing several lengthy closures for at least eight to ten times during this period.

The 6,074-foot long floating toll bridge will remain in use as the only vehicular crossing linking Region Four and Region Three for another two years until the new high span bridge is complete.

Providing an update on that highly anticipated project, the minister said that with the procurement process complete and Cabinet offering its no objection to a preferred bidder the project is set to get off the ground soon.

China State Construction Engineering Corporation Ltd. was given the nod of approval from Cabinet to construct the new structure.

“At this stage, a specially appointed team is concluding negotiations and all administrative details for the signing of the contract.

A replica of the New Demerara Harbour Bridge

“Between the week before Christmas and today, six such meetings were held and the sun is getting ready to shine brightly, Edghill added.

The company proposed that it can construct the new DHB at a cost of US$256.6 million based on the Design-Build-Finance (DBF) model outlined by the government.

That price was found to be the lowest amongst all bidders; it is intended that the bridge will land at Nandy Park on the East Bank of Demerara and Meer Zorgen/La Grange on the West Bank of Demerara.

The new structure serves as a critical component of the government’s drive to expand and modernize Guyana’s transport infrastructure.

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