‘Lots of possibilities for old bridge once new Demerara River crossing operational’ – Edghill

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Though it is costly to maintain, the government is keen on keeping the old Demerara Harbour Bridge functional for the next two years until the new high-span bridge is operational and will then decide its fate.

“People have taken for granted that bridge, it’s when it is not able to function then they realize its importance,” Minister of Public Works, Juan Edghill told News Room in a recent interview at his Wight’s Lane, Kingston, Georgetown office.

The Public Works Minister noted that span nine of the Demerara Harbour Bridge has been totally rebuilt and a suitable time for its installation early in the year is currently being contemplated.

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

“We have the best tide to be able to get the water at a particular level to bring that in and move out the old span nine,” he related, noting that the maintenance works will cause some service disruptions but timely notices will be provided.

Span nine was severely damaged in October 2022 after a fuel tanker collided with the bridge, shifting the span at about a 45 degrees angle and damaging everything under that structure.

“Once we keep that going for the next two years and make sure everybody could get over and once we could get the high span, four-lane, concrete bridge then we will come to a discussion of what to do with that – there are lots of possibilities,” Edghill said.

In May 2022, the government signed a contract to construct a new crossing over the Demerara River to the tune of US$260 million with a Chinese joint venture – China Railway Construction Corporation Limited.

The hybrid-designed bridge will feature a modern four-lane structure, cycle lane, with a 2.65 kilometers length, driving surface of about 23.6 meters and will have a lifespan of some 100 years.

Construction of the new bridge is expected to commence soon with the government inking a concessional loan agreement with the Bank of China.

“We have already approved the personnel, equipment and mobilization and everything that has been coming in,” Edghill said, noting that construction of the bridge will be completed within two years.

He reminded that there are penalties for failure to complete the bridge on time, including a US$15,000 per day fine for every day the bridge goes over schedule.

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