Strict monitoring needed to ensure adequate materials to complete new harbour bridge – Edghill
Minister of Public Works, Juan Edghill, says the government will keep a keen eye on the steady supply of sand, aggregates and other materials to keep up with the works being done on the new Demerara River Bridge.
“The only issue I think we have to pay attention to – because of the volume of what is being done here – to keep the supply of materials at an optimum level,” Edghill said during a visit to the construction site of the new bridge on Thursday.
While there, he was also informed by the contractor, China Railway Construction Corporation Limited, that construction is progressing smoothly with no delays.
“I have been invited here by the contractor to bring me up to date as the subject minister on the milestones that we would have achieved,” Minister Edghill said.
The temporary bridge for the construction of the new four-lane high-span bridge has been completed. The contractors are currently installing platforms for the new river crossing.
Minister Edghill and the contractors inspected one of the main towers connecting the western and eastern sides. Steel piles have already been installed on the western side.
“As it is right now, with the concerns we would have had and expressed to the Chinese contractor [the delays], there has been a significant movement in terms of making up of time, the significant movement is they are able now to work day and night,” Edghill related.
Concrete will be poured into the 38 piles on Friday, marking a significant milestone. Despite shipping challenges via the Panama Canal for construction materials, the contractor was able to successfully use a longer route through Cape Verde.
“This bridge, apart from its transformational nature, is also tied into a time-bound, time-specific contract arrangement and that means that we have to be able to meet significant milestones to ensure that we are keeping the progress going.”
Minister Edghill also noted that the necessary arrangements with the Maritime Administration Department and river users have been completed to ensure safe transit while the construction is ongoing.
Last year, the Ministry’s Project Engineer Patrick Thompson, along with a team including representatives from Politecnica, the consultancy supervising the project, travelled to China to inspect all materials and parts being fabricated for the bridge.
Currently, 378 persons are working on the site on a 24-hour basis to ensure that the December 31, 2024 deadline is met.
In May 2022, the government signed the US$260 million contract to construct the new bridge.
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.