Small number of houses to be removed for construction of new Demerara bridge

…as APNU Region 4 Chair supports Govt on project

A small number of properties will have to be acquired by Government to facilitate the building of the new Demerara River bridge.

This was revealed by the Public Works Ministry’s Chief Transport Planning Officer, Patrick Thompson during a tour of the site on the East Bank of Demerara end of the proposed structure at Nandy Park.

“Best to my knowledge, there aren’t any properties on the West Bank that is within the alignment of the bridge. There are a few properties on the East Bank here that will fall within the alignment to the bridge and we are in the process of as I said earlier, trying to commence what is required by law to acquire those properties,” Thompson told the media.

Asked specifically about the exact number of homes that will have to be relocated, Thompson said a mere “handful”.

“…But there are a handful of properties that that will likely fall within the right of way of the bridge. And those will have to be acquired,” Thompson said.

Joining the team for the tour of the area was Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica) APNU appointed Regional Chairman, Daniel Seeram.

Seeram told the media that although the project is still in an infancy stage, he will give his support for it.

“…such a construction in this area will be massive and will be impacting a lot of communities within the areas. We would have noted that some of the properties would fall directly in the right of way zone of the Demerara bridge and that has caused some amount of legal decisions to be made in terms of public acquisition of lands to facilitate that, that construction,” Seeram told the media, adding that “…these constructions uplift the region and I guess it will be welcomed by all Guyanese, those living on these East Bank the East Coast and in Georgetown to ease the traffic woes that we have in the morning rush hour period and in the afternoon rush hour periods.”

He said that the regional authorities are supporting Central Government and other local authorities to ensure that project is effective, as such infrastructure brings “more economic prosperity.”

“So here we are working together as a team at both the regional governance along with the Central Government and the other local authorities to ensure that such projects have all of the questions answered and that all of the Guyanese could understand that some amount of discomfort will be there. But we are keeping to push into more transformative development within the region that can bring more economic prosperity and could relieve some of the issues that we’re generally having on a day-to-day basis.”

He added that “I love to give the no objection because the project is warranted for the region. But we have processes that we have to follow right. My governance strategy at the region is meaningful consultation, thorough discussions leading to informed decisions.  So I’m leaning towards yes, given that no objection, however, I have to make sure that consultations were happening below me in terms that the local authorities level and I must check with the other stakeholders before I can give that final no objection on behalf of the region.”

Economic expansion

During a recent sit down with the media, Finance Minister Dr Ashni Singh spoke on a wide range of topics concerning development. One thing he spoke on was the new Demerara River bridge, which he described as critical to Guyana’s developmental trajectory.

“If you consider that when the Wales Development Authority is constructed, which is going to happen, and given the volume of economic activity that we’re going to have in Wales and by extension the West Bank of Demerara, the need for a more efficient crossing over the Demerara River becomes more obvious. So, the new Demerara River bridge will meet that critical need.”

Singh noted that a lot of studies have been done in terms of planning Guyana’s development path. According to the Finance Minister, the work the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) is doing on these individual projects must be seen in the grander scheme of things.

“What you are witnessing here is the various elements of a comprehensive plan. So, a lot of study has gone into where we see the country going in terms of its development trajectory. Where we see major new centres of economic activity. Major new developments in terms of urbanisation, new housing areas, major population centres. Shifting population centres.”

“And recognising all of these developments, making sure we put in place the infrastructure prerequisites, to anticipate those developments and meet the needs associated with those developments. So all of these developments, whether its Amaila Falls, the gas-to-shore project, the new Demerara Harbour Bridge, these are all critical parts of our Government’s comprehensive plan to meet the infrastructural needs of the modern Guyana,” Singh explained.

With the construction of the new Demerara River bridge slated to start in the fourth quarter of 2021, the project is expected to be finished within two years. The bridge will land aback Nandy Park on the East Bank of Demerara and at La Grange, West Bank Demerara.

Only recently, Cabinet granted it’s no objection for China State Construction Engineering to construct the bridge.