Harbour Bridge closure: Works ahead of schedule but no word yet of sooner reopening


The Demerara Harbour Bridge (DHB) closed promptly at midnight Monday to facilitate much-needed repair works and already, Public Works Minister Juan Edghill says the works are ahead of schedule.

“There is no need for panic, we are doing well and we are ahead of schedule,” Edghill said during a live briefing at the bridge on Tuesday morning.

DHB General Manager Wayne Watson said the repair works are ahead of schedule because the river was very calm early Tuesday morning when the works started. The old Span Nine was replaced quickly and is being installed.

Watson, however, could not say whether the bridge would be open sooner.

“We will keep our schedule as three days but give and take but once there are (other) time savings,” Watson said.

Repair works on the Demerara Harbour Bridge started after midnight Tuesday (Photo: NCN/ July 25, 2023)

The closure is scheduled to end at 11:59 pm on July 27.

The Demerara Harbour is the only bridge connecting Regions Three and Four; thousands of commuters use it everyday.

The closure of the Demerara Harbour Bridge is the facilitate the replacement of the Span 9 which was damaged in September last year when the Panamanian flagged vessel, MV Tradewinds Passion, crashed into the bridge during a retraction period and rendered the bridge inoperable for several days.

On Tuesday, Watson also highlighted that other repair works are ongoing at the bridge. Another $85 million is being spent on fixing the High Span while internal works, costing $60 million, are ongoing at Spans 12 to 29 and 39 to 61.

Repair works on the Demerara Harbour Bridge started after midnight Tuesday (Photo: NCN/ July 25, 2023)

Edghill said pursuing these repair works simultaneously indicate a strategic use of the closure.

Meanwhile, Edghill also noted the alternative travel systems instituted are working well. Those alternative systems include the usual speedboat crossing from Vreed-en-Hoop to Stabroek Market and the new river crossings at Wales to Grove and from the eastern to western sides of the Harbour bridge.

Captain Stephen Thomas from the Maritime Administration Department (MARAD) said boats that usually operate on the Essequibo River were brought to the Demerara River to help facilitate the extra crossings.

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