10,000+ to benefit from modern Moruca bridge slated to open in 3 weeks

− Min. Patterson inspects ongoing works of the $110M bridge

DPI, Guyana, Thursday, March 28, 2019

After enduring years of hardship traversing an old wooden bridge that was below water level and deemed unsafe, the residents of Moruca (Region 1) are delighted with the construction of a modern $110M bridge that links Kumaka and San Jose.

Over 10,000 persons are expected to benefit from the concrete and steel structure which is almost complete and will be open to vehicular traffic within three weeks.

An Arial view of the Moruca Bridge.

Today, Minister of Public Infrastructure, David Patterson along with Permanent Secretary, Kenneth Jordan, Deputy Permanent Secretary from the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Samantha Fede, a team of engineers along with representatives from the Ministries of Finance and Security inspected the works done on the bridge.

Speaking to the Department of Public Information (DPI) Toshao of Santa Rosa, Whanita Phillips said that the concrete structure is a plus for the community since about 5,000 persons including students, teachers and nurses cross the bridge daily.

Philomena Torres, a vendor who sells clothing at her shop located just off the approach of the bridge, said that the residents were suffering for 23 years with the wooden bridge; as they were forced to walk through muddy water during the rainy season and high tides.

“The old bridge, my daughter even got a big scar from a bottle walking over and we did a lot of self-help on that bridge, plenty people fall from that, and now in just three years, we get a nice bridge and I know it will last longer.”

Torres expressed satisfaction with the work done on the bridge and is happy with the level of support Moruca is receiving from the government.

Stevens Leung, a resident living in Santa Rosa for over thirty years, said that the new feature added to Moruca is very significant, adding that “persons will now walk with ease to sell at Kumaka and even use taxis to take their stuff over the bridge. This is really good for the community.”

Following the inspection, Minister Patterson noted his satisfaction with the quality of work done on the bridge to date.

“This is a promise we made to the people and yet again we are delivering. This is a solid bridge that will last for about 40 years or even longer… a perfect example of what we should do for bridges for these communities.”

However, the minister noted that these works cater for just Phase One of the project. Phase Two will involve the rehabilitation of the roads on the approaches on both sides of the bridge; while Phase three will be the continuation of the road network in Santa Rosa.

Further, following a request from the residents, Minister Patterson has committed to installing an arch to demarcate Kumaka and San Jose. He noted that these additional works were not part of the project, but efforts will be made to deliver on the promise.

The minister warned that no track machines including bulldozers should be allowed to traverse on the bridge.

“You must stop anybody from doing this. This is your property and you must protect it,” he warned.

Minister Patterson reminded that the previous administration had spent some $58M on the old bridge, which is about half of what the APNU+AFC Government spent on the current structure. The original wooden bridge was built in 2013 and by 2015, deemed ‘dangerous’ for residents to cross.

When the Coalition Government took office in 2015, it met with the Santa Rosa Village Council and the bridge was their number one priority.

“We promised them this and we delivered,” Minister Patterson emphasised.

The new bridge was built high enough to allow cargo and other boats to navigate below with ease. There is also a walkway for pedestrians which will be outfitted with safety features for the elderly and children, solar lamps, and warning lights for boats traversing the water at nights. 

Synieka Thorne.

Images: Kawise Wishart.