Over $110M in equipment procured to enhance capacity of Harbour Bridge
The capacity of the Demerara Harbour Bridge (DHB) has been boosted with the recent acquisition of a self-loader and a motorised barge valued at over $110M.
Minister of Public Works, Juan Edghill on Friday commissioned the two pieces of equipment which is expected to bring about greater efficiency, reduce cost and aid in timely responses for emergency and maintenance works on the bridge.
The self-loader, which costs over $40M, can carry up to 15 tonnes and was specifically acquired to address instances of incapacitated vehicles on the bridge which oftentimes result in traffic build-up on the East Bank and West Bank of Demerara.
“We normally would have to rent two trucks to remove those vehicles and also when we are doing maintenance works. When we have to remove the transom beams and other heavy component of the bridge, we normally would hire trucks,” the General Manager of the DHB, Wayne Watson said on Friday.
The self-loader is made up of a winch, a retractable tray, and a crane.
“It’s a specially designed piece of equipment for the Demerara Harbour Bridge. So it’s a combination of three into one,” Watson noted.
Edghill said the cost of lifting heavy items off the bridge has been “skyrocketing.”
“Now, we have our own equipment that could lift up to 15 tonnes at a time and I am also advised that it could pull a 15 tonnes vehicle onto the tray and remove it off of the bridge immediately,” Edghill said.
The motorised barge was procured at a cost of $73M and it will be fitted with a boat carrying a 25-horse power engine, which is expected to arrive soon.
A pontoon was converted to make the “multi-function” piece of equipment which will be used for scheduled and emergency maintenance works. It will also carry the tools and equipment necessary to carry out these works and to access other sections of the bridge.
Currently, there is one seasonal operator but Watson said other persons will be trained to operate the vessel which will be in operation on a 24-hour basis.
“When we have to do maintenance work, of recent time, we had to be going on the bridge, our trucks and our welding plan have to take up the location of the bridge and that by itself create restriction,” Watson told members of the media on Friday.
“While we want to improve the efficiency of our maintenance work, we want to also minimize the commuters’ frustration,” he said.
Edghill urged the management of the DHB to care for the equipment and pointed out the importance of maintenance.
“These kinds of investments are geared to one, bring about greater efficiency, secondly, to reduce cost and to help us with more timely responses…When we make these kinds of investments it has cost savings, it improves the fact that we can work on a platform on water and we don’t have to congest the carriageway with vehicles…so the traffic can flow,” he noted.