…$946M for existing Demerara Bridge; $76.7B in total for roads and bridges
The new four-lane, fixed span Demerara River bridge, which will form an important link between the East Bank and West Bank of Demerara and alleviate the traffic woes currently faced up the East Bank of Demerara (EBD) has received a $21.1 billion allocation from Budget 2022.
According to Minister within the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance Dr Ashni Singh, a total of $76.7 billion was allocated out of the $552.9 billion budget for works that will be done on roads and bridges. This $76.7 billion will be divided into $49.2 billion which will be spent on roads and $27.5 billion to be spent on bridges.
“Mr Speaker, with respect to bridges, $21.1 billion is allocated to advance construction of the new, fixed four-lane high span Demerara River bridge, while $946 million has been budgeted to rehabilitate and maintain the aged existing floating bridge,” Dr Singh said.
“Additionally, $4.1 billion is allocated for the re-construction of several bridges along the Kurupukari to Lethem corridor that will support the phased construction of the Linden to Lethem highway.”
Dr Singh also announced that to address the critical needs of bridges, another $173.9 million has budgeted for the construction, rehabilitation and maintenance of bridges in areas including Garden of Eden, Chateau Margot, Beterverwagting, and Cemetery Road.
The construction of the new Demerara River Bridge is slated to start in the fourth quarter of 2022. The project is expected to be finished within two years. The bridge will land aback Nandy Park, EBD, and at La Grange, West Bank Demerara (WBD).
Last year, Cabinet granted its no-objection for China State Construction Engineering Corporation Ltd to construct the bridge at a proposed cost of US$256.6 million. The contract was awarded based on a Design-Build-Finance (DBF) model with financial terms and conditions which would be no less favourable than those submitted in the preferred bidder’s price proposals. The proposed construction cost by China State Construction was in fact the lowest amongst all bidders.
Initially, the Government had pre-qualified nine firms to submit bids for the construction of a two-lane dual carriageway (4 lanes) hybrid cable-stayed centre span bridge with concrete box/T beam girder approach bridge structure.
The pre-qualified firms were invited to submit bids to construct the bridge using a Design-Build-Finance (D-B-F) contract and Design-Build-Finance-Operate-Maintain (D-B-F-O-M) contract.
At the pre-bid meeting, held on June 28, 2021, it was agreed that the closing date for submission of bids would be October 5, 2021. Only five of the pre-qualified bidders submitted bids, of which four obtained the required minimum score for the technical proposal.
The new bridge will offer easy connectivity to both the existing East Bank Demerara road as well as the new Diamond-to-Ogle bypass on the eastern side of the river and to the existing West Bank Demerara road and the new Parika-to-Schoonord road on the western side of the river.
The new bridge will also offer critical connectivity to the new Wales Development Authority, which will be a major centre of productive activity when it comes on stream.
When it comes to big road projects, $2.3 billion has been set aside for the East Bank-East Coast Demerara road linkage between Ogle and Eccles, while a further $1.1 billion is budgeted to complete the Sheriff Street-Mandela Road Network and Expansion Project.
“In relation to roads, key allocations include provisions of: $8.3 billion for the rehabilitation of the Corentyne Main Road from Palmyra to Crabwood Creek; $6 billion for the construction of the Linden-Mabura Hill Road; $3.4 billion for hinterland roads,” he announced.
Meanwhile, $2.6 billion has been set aside for the rehabilitation of the entire Soesdyke-Linden Highway, which has been prone to horrific accidents. Additionally, some $15.2 billion is allocated for the construction and rehabilitation of additional urban and community roads. (G3)