Guyana is replete with timber bridges, from towns to villages. Oftentimes, these structures are unstable and can fall apart under the weight of vehicles. It is an issue that the Government plans to address.
While recently commissioning one such bridge at Sussex and Hogg Streets, Georgetown, Public Works Minister Juan Edghill made this announcement. According to Edghill, the eventual plan is to replace all timber bridges with concrete structures.
While lauding the superiority of concrete structures over their timber counterparts, Minister Edghill disclosed that President Dr Irfaan Ali has charged him to engage an international expert in this regard.
“One thing about the concrete structure is that it lasts longer. And eventually, we would hope to retire all timber bridges and get them into concrete bridges,” Minister Edghill explained while giving his remarks at the ribbon-cutting.
“His Excellency the President himself mandated me to engage an international expert and supplier, to talk to them about how we can do concrete bridges in a shorter timeframe,” the Minister added.
The particular bridge the Minister commissioned has been down for months after being damaged by an overladen truck. However, the bridge was completed four weeks ahead of schedule by contractor Devcon construction.
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 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.”
The Minister noted the chances that even while they are fixing the Sussex and Hogg Streets bridge, the very same thing could be happening at another location in the country. According to Edghill, development is held back when the Government has to repair what was already built but not maintained.