Following some two hours of built-up traffic along the East Bank Demerara highway heading to West Demerara, the Demerara Harbour Bridge Corporation (DHBC) has explained that the closure of the bridge to vehicular traffic was to
facilitate emergency works.
Maintenance Engineer attached to DHBC, Christopher Grannum, said routine maintenance was being carried out on the bridge on Thursday when they realised that extended work was needed. This resulted in the maintenance taking longer than scheduled.
“Due to the critical nature of the work we carried out yesterday (Thursday), we encountered some difficulties and we would like to apologise for the problems on the East Bank road, but it was regular maintenance work that escalated to critical works,” Grannum explained to the Government Information Agency (GINA).
The Maintenance Engineer noted that when an inspection was carried out on Wednesday, it was realised that work had to be carried out to prevent a section of
the bridge from collapsing.
An additional welding team was called in to complete the works. He added that if this was not done, then it would have resulted in the bridge being out of operation for days.
“We found that the post at Span 37 and 38 of the bridge was damaged. It had various problems. The eyes of the post were enlarged and it had a crack so we had to change it due to the severity of the situation. While changing the post yesterday (Thursday) we encountered some difficulties in extracting and installing the post so that’s why we went over the time limit,” Grannum underlined.
Meanwhile, the night retraction which restarted last November is expected to reduce the amount of traffic on the bridge during peak periods. This would result in less maintenance.
Grannum said it is too soon to determine whether the night retractions would have actually resulted in a decrease in traffic at peak period. He said efforts are intensifying to ensure that the traffic is reduced to decrease the amount of retractions and maintenance.
Nevertheless, the Management of DHBC is apologising to commuters for the extended opening of the bridge which saw persons travelling to West Demerara being affected. Long lines of traffic also affected people travelling along the East Bank of Demerara.
In December 2015, the Government received expressions of interest for the undertaking of a feasibility study and design of a new bridge across the Demerara River from 23 companies.
Minister within the Public Infrastructure Ministry, Annette Ferguson revealed that during the first six months in 2017, the final study on a new bridge will be completed by the Lievense CSO, an engineering firm from The Netherlands. Thereafter, the tender process for the construction of a new bridge will commence.