Min Edghill hints at closure of DHB for 3-5 days to facilitate repairs
…contingency mechanisms to be implemented
Commuters are being advised that the services of the Demerara Harbour Bridge (DHB) may be interrupted for a few days, in order to facilitate critical repair works to that facility.
Public Works Minister Bishop Juan Edghill on Friday related that while a new bridge across the Demerara River is in the pipeline for 2025, relentless efforts are being undertaken to maintain use of the existing structure. Funds have been invested to repair two spans of this bridge: while repairs along Span 10 have been completed, a new Span 9 has been built externally, and needs to be installed.
“Span 9 has been built off-site. It was so badly damaged that we couldn’t repair it, we had to build a new Span 9. This is the dilemma that we have; we have to take out Span 9 and put in the new Span 9,” the Minister has said. He added, “There will be some hours or some days where the Demerara Harbour Bridge would not be available for the travelling public…We are looking, and we are planning. It may take about three to five days that we will have an interruption to service.”
The Public Works Ministry is awaiting Cabinet’s approval to move forward with the upgrade works, and Minister Edghill has reassured that a contingency plan would be put in place to allow for vehicles to traverse the river at two locations. Water taxis would also be plying the route on a 24-hour basis.
“We will make a public announcement as to when that operation will take place. To facilitate that short-term operation, we have studied, and will put, initiatives in place. There is no need for panic…cars trucks and vehicles can possibly cross from two locations on both sides of the river on a 24-hour basis,” the Minister has said.
With 44 years of existence, the Demerara Harbour Bridge remains a vital link and an important piece of infrastructure in the everyday lives of thousands of Guyanese. A floating bridge that’s 1.25 miles long, this infrastructure is a strategic link between the East and West Banks of the Demerara river, facilitating the daily movement of thousands of vehicles, persons, and cargo.
The structure was built in the 1970s, and was opened in July 1978 with the expectation of lasting only 10 years. However, some 42 years later, it is still floating.
This year, the National Assembly approved $900 million to finance repair works to several components of the structure. Those components include the installation of anchor blocks, deck plates, and pontoons, among other things.