Gov’t, Chinese companies finalising negotiations for new Harbour Bridge
Some three months after the government commenced negotiations with a Chinese joint venture on the construction of the new Demerara Harbour crossing, Public Works Minister Juan Edghill says that the government is finalising those talks.
Edghill’s statements come after the Environmental Assessment Board (EAB) upheld the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) decision that an impact study for the new Demerara Harbour Crossing is not needed.
Instead, it has been recommended that an Environmental and Social Management Plan be crafted. This plan is expected to include the identification of potential impact and mitigation outcomes of the final design and other much-needed analyses and plans.
With the EAB’s decision, Edghill told the News Room on Friday, “The next thing that is to happen is for us to have a signed contract with the preferred contractor.”
In February, it was reported that negotiations shifted to the second-ranked bidder on the list of pre-qualified firms after talks between the government and China State Construction Engineering Corporation Ltd. were scrapped over the company’s high cost to build the modern structure.
The new firm the government has been in talks with is a Joint Venture (JV) company between China Railway Construction Corporation (International) Ltd., China Railway Construction (Caribbean a) Co. Ltd, and China Railway Construction Bridge Engineering Bureau Group Co. Ltd (China & Trinidad and Tobago).
Edghill told the News Room that the preferred contractor and the government team are “engaging for finalisation.”
He could not say what specific areas are still being negotiated but noted that as soon as those negotiations are complete, the government will make an announcement.
He, however, assured Guyanese that the construction of this crossing is a “matter of priority”.
After the contract is signed, the government expects to have the modern structure delivered in two years.
It will land at Nandy Park on the East Bank of Demerara and Meer Zorgen/La Grange on the West Bank of Demerara. This crossing erves as a critical component of the government’s drive to expand and modernise Guyana’s transport infrastructure.
The high span bridge will replace the more than 45-year-old Demerara Harbour Bridge with a modern four-lane structure that will facilitate greater traffic capacity and dramatically improve commuter convenience.