Construction works on Patentia bridge ongoing

By Shemuel Fanfair

Residents of Patentia, West Bank Demerara, are overjoyed with the commencement of repairs the main access bridge leading into the Patentia Housing Scheme.

A Hymac clearing the canal to facilitate rehabilitation
A Hymac clearing the canal to facilitate rehabilitation

This bridge was deteriorating and deplorable state for well over a year. According to information, works began some three weeks ago but were briefly stalled. So far the construction team has uprooted the dilapidated wood structure and are replacing it with concrete, which is now the bridge of choice.

 Workmen at Patentia on Saturday at the new structure
Workmen at Patentia on Saturday at the new structure

When Guyana Times visited the area Saturday morning, inhabitants explained that they are indeed glad for the return of the bridge which was originally built in the 1940s.
Vendors in the nearby Patentia Market are temporarily relocated to facilitate the construction – a move which they had no objection to.
“We don’t mind, as long as we getting de bridge back,” one smiling female vendor told this newspaper.
The rehabilitation follows a series of reports highlighted in this newspaper which emphasised the growing concerns residents had over the deteriorating state of the decades-old structure.
According to reports, initial damage was caused by a loaded truck traversing the bridge over a year ago. In January this year, one resident stated that continued use was what contributed to the decline of the area’s main transit point.
At that time, residents, sellers and school children continued to use the bridge in spite of its deterioration. It was also claimed by many in the area that one of the sellers in the vicinity had fallen while using the bridge sometime late last year.
A red cloth warning vehicle owners of a damaged section of the bridge was then placed.
Residents had also expressed frustrations over a nearby substitute bridge not being equipped to withstand the weight of heavy-loaded drink and gas trucks which must service shops in the housing scheme.
Local Pandit and Justice of the Peace, Chandreeca Persaud had made continued complaints to both the Regional Democratic Council (RDC) and the Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC) to no avail.
When this publication contacted former chairman of Toevlugt-Patentia NDC Roy Benett in January, he stated that the NDC was aware of the condition of the access bridge but emphasised that the responsibility for the bridge rests with the RDC.
Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara) Regional Chairman Julius Faerber when contacted some days later confirmed that the structure indeed falls under the RDC and he expressed hope that the funds would be procured from Government.
“We were trying at the regional level to see if we could have garnered some funding to have that bridge repaired. After the General and Regional Elections, we were told that the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change Government will make some funding available to have that bridge repaired under the new budget in 2015.”
He however related that the project was not included in the 2015 Budget but was referred to the 2016 Budget.