Emergency works to be done to clear collapsed Pirara Bridge – Min Edghill
– Govt working with Private Sector to empty, move truck
A section of the Region Nine Pirara Bridge, an important link between Lethem and Annai, has collapsed under the weight of a heavy-duty truck and according to Public Works Minister Juan Edghill, Government will be conducting emergency works and collaborating with the Private Sector as it seeks to clear the bridge.
According to the Minister in a statement, the Government will be conducting emergency works in order to get the truck off the collapsed section of the 160-foot bridge, which collapsed on Sunday.
“There are two things we have to do. One, we have to engage the Private Sector and that has been done, to assist in getting the truck emptied, so we can move the truck off the bridge. Because as a result of that, traffic is unable to pass. We have fuel tankers and other [vehicles] to get into Lethem.”
“The building of an alternative route right now is proving to be difficult. The water is high and from the assessment I have currently, about one-third of the bridge is damaged. So, we have to go into immediate emergency works.”
He explained that they are in the process of mobilising at the site to resolve the issue as quickly as possible. According to Minister Edghill, the Ministry has personnel on the ground in Region Nine that he is in contact with.
“I’ve instructed my chief engineer and he has communicated that to both my hinterland engineer and all the other persons on the ground. Engage and mobilise the resources closest to the site, so we can get this resolved as quickly as possible. And as far as I am aware, that is being done.”
Advisories warning that the Pirara Bridge is structurally compromised have been issued since 2019, with motorists being warned to use an alternative route until the Regional Democratic Council (RDC) of Region Nine repairs it.
It was only in February of this year, during the commissioning of a bridge at Sussex and Hogg Streets, Georgetown, that Minister Edghill had cause to warn motorists and truckers about the importance of not overloading bridges with weight the structures are not equipped to handle.
In his remarks at the bridge opening, Edghill had urged motorists, particularly cargo hauliers, to be responsible and adhere to the recommended weight limit on the country’s infrastructure lest a repeat of the bridge’s collapse occurs.
“This bridge was damaged on September 11, 2020… what transpired was that a containerised haulier carrying tonnes of container cargo, reversed on this bridge to turn around and broke it. Now, this is a community bridge. Not a bridge in a commercial zone,” Edghill had said.
“It could carry a truckload of sand, a canter of material to build a home. But to have an unconscionable act of a container truck, with a 40-foot container on it, using a community bridge to turn around, is something that must be addressed in a very public way.”