Engineers working 24/7 to reopen Harbour Bridge tonight
As engineers continue to work around the clock to repair the Demerara Harbour Bridge, the General Manager, Wayne Watson, told the News Room that it is likely the critical bridge will reopen late Monday night or early into Tuesday morning.
“We are optimistic that we will get some reopening between tonight and Tuesday morning and we are trying our utmost to get that done that is why we are working around the clock,” Watson said on Monday.
Once reopened, the bridge will only accommodate light vehicles at first.
The Harbour Bridge suffered the worst damage ever after a Panamanian vessel, the MV Tradewind Passion, collided with it at about 02:00hrs on Saturday.
Four spans – 8, 9, 10 and 11 – are broken and Span 9 was shifted at about 45 degrees, and up until Monday, Watson revealed that assessment of the damages was still ongoing.
“We are still sorting out the overall damages; by this afternoon we can probably put a rate but at the moment we are still doing some assessments because as we corrected a section, we have other issues we are seeing.
“We are getting closer by the hour,” Watson explained.
The major accident has disrupted traffic across the bridge and despite the 24-hour speed boat service across the river, several businesses are being affected.
At a press briefing on Saturday afternoon, Minister of Public Works Juan Edghill revealed that barges were being considered to transport trucks with goods across the river.
On Monday, Watson told the News Room that negotiations are still ongoing to get the barges.
“There has been no confirmation as yet,” Watson said.
Meanwhile, Minister Edghill had also said that speedboats would be made available to transport passengers from the Harbour Bridge to La Grange. This was expected to be in place on Sunday.
“We have some negotiations going on still but we have to sort out the west side landing,” Watson said on Monday.
The government suspended the license of the pilot of the vessel, a Guyanese national, who has been working for decades to transport vessels through the Demerara River. His license is likely to be permanently suspended.
Based on preliminary investigations, GPS tracking found that the vessel did not follow the designated route through the river.
Andy Duke, the Ship Supervisor for the Harbour Bridge, suffered a fractured leg following the collision. Duke reportedly warned the pilot moments before the collision.
A Board of Inquiry has since been set up to investigate the incident.