Commuters stranded again as DHB connecting post breaks
…Evening News video editor injured, bike damaged
By Lakhram Bhagirat
Persons using the Demerara Harbour Bridge were subjected to an unplanned closure, at approximately 15:30h on Tuesday when a connecting post broke off resulting in the integrity of the structure being compromised.
Demerara Harbour Bridge General Manager Rawlston Adams said that a connecting post broke at span 31-32. The broken post would have seriously affected the integrity of the structure so it had to be replaced immediately.
Adams, in an interview with Guyana Times, explained that the engineers would often use the retraction time to make minor repairs and change the damaged posts on the Bridge, but there was no indication that the particular post needed to be changed.
“This one just broke and because of the severity of the breakage, we can’t delay it until tomorrow’s (today’s) retraction so we have to intervene immediately. These are metal structures and they can fail; they can show a crack and fail during normal operations when vehicles are transiting the Bridge,” he explained.
He said that the repairs would take approximately one hour, but lamented the traffic build-up on the East and West Banks of the Demerara River.
“That from experience would tell us that there would be a serious backup of traffic on the East Bank (Demerara) and on the West Side (West Bank Demerara), because this is the afternoon peak hour and we will do our best to ensure it is rectified as soon as possible,” Adams explained in an earlier interview.
About 17:15h, the post was fully repaired and the Bridge opened to vehicular traffic. However, since the incident occurred around peak rush hour traffic, vehicles were backed up a long way and the congestion lasted until late evening.
“My life flashed before me”
Meanwhile, Evening News Video Editor Aggrey Halley, who was on the Bridge at the time, said that his life flashed before his eyes when his motorcycle, CJ 1810, began tumbling down the high span on the DHB and came to a stop after it slammed into a canter truck, GPP 6619.
“Around 3 pm (15:00h), I was heading east on the Bridge when a lorry was heading in the opposite direction. Because of the weight, the plate lifted up like about two feet and I was pitched from my bike and began to roll down the high span,” he explained.
The traumatised man added that it all happened so quickly that all he could have done was try to move out of the way of oncoming traffic after he stopped tumbling down, to preserve his life. He further related that after he stopped tumbling, the bike continued skating and slammed into the canter truck damaging both vehicles.
“There was no bridge personnel on site when this happened although there is a security hut there. It took them about 10-15 minutes to come to the site and all the while the Bridge was moving up and down causing the traffic to stop,” Halley explained.
The father of one related that his motorcycle was purchased three months ago and was his only mode of transportation for his family. He added that he lived in a remote area of the Schoonord Housing Scheme on the West Bank of Demerara and transportation was quite difficult to access.
Halley sustained several bruises about his body, his shirt was torn and he has a sprained right ankle, limiting his movements thus hindering his productivity. He says he is in tremendous pain.
“I could have died there, because there was traffic on both sides and I was in the middle of the Bridge. I have a young child and all I could have thought about is my family and being safe. The Demerara Harbour Bridge need to be more proactive in ensuring the safety of their users,” Halley urged.
Meanwhile, the General Manager of the DHB has scheduled a meeting with Halley for today.