East Bank traffic woes will be a thing of the past with new Demerara Crossing

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The traffic situation along the East Bank corridor, particularly at the junction of the Demerara Harbour Bridge, can be termed hellish and terribly inconvenient for commuters who ply the route daily.

But with the new Demerara River Crossing soon to be constructed, Chief Transport Planning Officer at the Ministry of Public Works Patrick Thompson believes the congestion there will be a thing of the past.

Chief Transport Planning Officer at the Ministry of Public Works Patrick Thompson

Thompson’s position was made known on Tuesday during a public hearing to determine whether the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was right in its decision to waive the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the construction of the new structure.

Prefacing his presentation, Thompson pointed out that the implementation of the project is “several years behind schedule” since the volume of vehicles that exist on both the East Bank and West Bank of Demerara has increased.

“Traffic at the bridge has grown from several hundred vehicles in the early 80’s to about 20,000 vehicles per day and if you are a casual or regular user of the bridge, you require no convincing that a new bridge is needed,” he stated.

The new structure is set to land at Nandy Park (East Bank Demerara) and at La Grange/ Meer-Zorgen (West Bank Demerara). And according to Thompson, the traffic situation “was the driving force” behind the selection of that location.

Prior to this, the previous administration had identified the proposed location of Houston (East Bank Demerara) to Versailles (West Bank Demerara) as the best option.

But when the PPP/C government took office, it relocated the alignment as the location has seen increased shore-based oil and gas activities.

The new structure is expected to be modern, landing some 700 meters inland from the eastern bank and will be elevated 50 meters at the beginning of the channel.

“A few kilometers of new access roads will be built on the East Bank to allow the bridge traffic to connect to the existing road network so the current situation where the East Bank Traffic and West Bank/Coast traffic merges at Peter’s Hall will no longer obtain.

Typical Road Cross-Section of the new structure

“That bottleneck will be eliminated with the advent of the new bridge and the traffic congestion would not be what it is today,” Thompson further explained.

Though no official design has been submitted, Thompson said the new structure would have a four-lane carriageway, hybrid cable-stayed center span bridge from concrete box/ T-beam girder with concrete structures.

The new structure would not require any closure for marine traffic, allowing for smooth traffic flow and a contact-less tolling system along with two bicycle lanes and walkways.

Currently, the government is advancing talks with the Chinese Joint Venture Firm to get a contract signed at the earliest possible time.

Initially, the government was in talks with China State Construction Engineering Corporation Ltd. – the first rank bidder selected from a list of pre-qualified firms.

But that was scrapped over the company’s high cost to build the modern structure.

After the contract is signed, the government expects to have the modern structure delivered in two years.

 

 

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