With the aim of reducing road carnage and enhancing public safety, works have commenced for the construction of a series of pedestrian overpasses along the East Bank of Demerara.
The project is funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and has a
deadline of November 15. It entails the construction of five overpasses at Houston, Greater Georgetown; and at Eccles, Peter’s Hall, Providence and Diamond, East Bank Demerara.
The contract for the overpasses at Houston, Eccles and Peter’s Hall were awarded to B&J Civil Works for the sum of US$1,034,326. Meanwhile, there are separate contracts for the Providence and Diamond overpasses which were both awarded to S Jagmohan Hardware Supplies and Construction Services to the tune of US$364,247 and US$364,727 respectively.
Works have commenced at all five locations with pile driving exercises. Speaking with Guyana Times, Project Manager (ag) of Donor Programmes at the Public Infrastructure Ministry, Mark Greene, explained that these works are currently being done in the early morning hours from 04:00h to 07:00h so as to avoid any impeding of the rush-hour traffic.
He noted that the pile driving exercise (the installation of piles/poles into the soil to
provide foundation support for structures) at Providence and Diamond are completed and other earth work such as sand filling and compacting have commenced at those locations.
At Peter’s Hall currently, there are about three piles remaining to be driven and several have already been driven at Houston, while five piles were driven at Eccles. At that location, there were some hiccups in terms of delays, Greene said, due to utilities having to be removed.
With these foundation works ongoing, the contractors have commenced working on the fabrication of a steel structure for the overpass. “That’s being done off site, simultaneously,” the Project Manager noted.
He added that one of the contractors has sub-contracted the steel fabrication work, while the other contractor is doing most of it in house but is also sub-contracting because of the amount of work to be done.
The construction of these steel structures commenced about two weeks ago and according to the senior engineer at the Public Infrastructure Ministry, these super-structure works can be seen by early to mid-August. “So if you pass at the sites, you probably won’t see much works being done but you will definitely see it next month,” he said.
Asked about the integrity of these steel structures given that it’s the first project of its kind being undertaken in the country, Greene pointed out that they were designed to international standards. In terms of integrity, he added, the designs are a “1000 per cent spot on.”
Moreover, the Project Manager stated that the Ministry has contracted a Trinidadian supervision firm – RM Engineering Limited – to oversee the construction of the overpasses.
According to Greene, as soon as the pile driving exercises are completed at all the sites, the concrete foundation would be cast and will have to be cured for some time before the steel structures can be erected.
The steel structures, according to the work plan, will take about 30 to 40 days to be constructed. The greatest amount of work, the Project Manager outlined, is to finish the fabrication. He noted that when that is done, there would be no difficulties in assembling it.
“So once they finish a lot of the works in the fabrication yard, all that’s remaining is to bring them on site and assembling it. That process won’t take very long, the assembling part,” he stated, emphasising that they are working to meet the November deadline.
While the project is on schedule, Greene noted that it has not been without any setbacks. The issues have to do mostly with utilities being in the way of construction works. He said they have found pipelines, telephone cables, GPL cables and even buried fibre optic cables in the way as well as an e-governance cable and Atlantic Cable Network cables.
At the Eccles site in particular, the Project Manager explained that they have made arrangements to have all the cables there removed.
“So it’s not like you can simply remove them, you have to contact the individuals and agencies to have them relocated,” he noted.
Thus far, GTT and the Guyana Power and Light (GPL) have already relocated their cables and contact has been made with the other agencies to do the same. According to the senior engineer, these disruptions are nothing new to this kind of construction works.
With regards to the performance of the contractors, Greene posited that both companies are seasoned and well experienced.