Construction on Corentyne River Bridge likely to start next year – Pres Ali

– says financial proposal to be ready by January month-end

President Dr Irfaan Ali has disclosed that the financial proposal for the new bridge across the Corentyne River, linking Guyana with its Dutch neighbour – Suriname, will be out by the end of January thus paving way for the tendering process and then the construction stage.

An artist’s impression of the bridge

Speaking at the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s (GCCI) Annual Awards Gala on Thursday evening, the Head of State disclosed that they are hoping to wrap up the tendering process by mid-2023 so that works can commence on the bridge.
“By the end of January, we will be sending out the full document for the financial proposal for the new Guyana/Suriname bridge across the Corentyne River. We’re hoping that that tendering process can be completed by mid-next year so that we could move to the implementation phase of the new Corentyne River Bridge,” the President indicated.
The bridge project is a collaboration between the governments of Guyana and Suriname, which have already decided on a Design, Build, Finance, Operate and Maintain (DBFOM) model for the transformational project that will be constructed via a Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) arrangement.
Back in May of this year, a US$2 million contract was signed in Paramaribo for several preliminary studies and research to be conducted on the Corentyne bridge by WSP Caribbean. The Expressions of Interest (EoIs) were also simultaneously launched.
Already, six international companies – five Chinese firms and one Dutch company from The Netherlands – have submitted bids for the construction of the Corentyne River Bridge.
The bids were opened at the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board (NPTAB) in Georgetown back in August.
Among the bidders are China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC); State-owned China Road and Bridge Cooperation (CRBC); China Gezhouba Group Company Limited in association with CEIG; China Overseas Engineering Group Co Ltd (COVEC) in association with China Railway Eryuan Engineering Group Co Ltd (CREEC), and China Railway First Group Co Ltd (CRFG); and China Railway Construction Caribbean Company Limited & China Railway Construction.
Meanwhile, Ballast Nedam, a construction company that is based in The Netherlands, was the lone non-Chinese company that submitted a bid for the project.
At the contract signing in May, Public Works Minister Juan Edghill pointed out that this bridge was more than just an infrastructure project, but was a physical and social connection between the two countries that cut across various economic sectors.
“It is a vision for the further development of two nations being realised. Development practitioners have agreed that bridges are key drivers of economic activity, ensuring the increased efficiency of trade, rapid exchange of ideas and quick access to services for those who need them most,” Edghill had stated.

The prioritisation of the bridge across the Corentyne River has been much touted by both President Dr Irfaan Ali and his Surinamese counterpart, President Chandrikapersad Santokhi.
The high-span Corentyne River bridge will run approximately 3.1 kilometres, connecting Moleson Creek in Guyana to South Drain in Suriname with a landing on Long Island in the Corentyne River, where a commercial hub and tourist destination will be established. That free zone will see major infrastructural development such as hotels, recreational parks, entertainment spots, tourist attractions, malls, and farmers’ markets.
Running from Moleson Creek to Long Island, the bridge will be a low-level structure, approximately one kilometre long; with a 2200-metre (2.2 km) road across Long Island and a high bridge, spanning 2100 metres (2.1 km) thereafter.
At the high end of the bridge, which will facilitate marine traffic, it will cater for 40,000 to 45,000 DWT (deadweight tonnage) capacity featuring a vertical (height) clearance of 43 metres and a horizonal (width) clearance of about 100 metres.
The Corentyne River bridge will not only link the two neighbouring countries, but also open up access to greater economic opportunities beyond them into French Guiana, and through the road network being developed into Brazil, and eventually further into South America.
TO this end, President Ali said on Thursday evening he has already reached out to the new Brazilian President, Luiz Inácio “Lula” da Silva, to have bilateral discussions on a number of issues. These include major infrastructural project such as Guyana’s own deep-water harbour, which the Guyanese Leader insists must be connected to Brazil.
“I’ve already requested, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, for a bilateral with the new President of Brazil because we have to start very early to ensure that timelines are not missed,” the Head of State posited.