Commuters welcome new Demerara Harbour Bridge

The new PPP/C Administration has begun the process of making the burdensome traffic on the 42-year-old Demerara Harbour Bridge a thing of the past.

During the morning hours on a typical weekday, the traffic on the eastern side of the bridge is halted to allow those on the West Bank to use both bridge lanes to enter the East Bank.

DPI recently interviewed several drivers caught in the logjam.

Truck driver, Mr. Derick Persaud said the new bridge is urgently needed.

“Right now, we have a lot of down time… When we coming up from the sandpit, it is from 7 o’clock to 9 o’clock. That is the down time up there and when you come here is a next downtime, one hour, and when you go over there [on the western side of the bridge] there is a next down time. It’s a next hour again. So, when you supposed to make four loads of sand, you only could make like two or three loads of sand,” Mr. Persaud explained.

Though faced with setbacks where he is often parked at the bridge for long hours, the driver is optimistic the new bridge will ease those problems.

“[With] the new bridge, you could leave early and go to work and you got whole day for work,” he said.

A few vehicles down the line, trucker, Mr. Gansham Das bemoaned the congestion at the bridge that has resulted in lost wages.

“This is waste of time here for the business. The time we waiting here now we could have done make a load of sand and we could have done gone home and done work early.”

Addressing the urgency of constructing a new bridge, Mr. Das said, “I am glad if they could start make this bridge tomorrow because it’s going be better for we. We gonna get to leave early. We going to done work early.”

Another driver, Mr. Raymond Williams told DPI the new bridge would facilitate a smoother flow of traffic.

The bus driver held, “I think a new bridge – a four lane bridge – will have a very good impact for us because it will be more vehicles going across the bridge and they will be moving faster.”

Meanwhile, General Manager of the Demerara Harbour Bridge Corporation (DHBC), Mr. Rawlston Adams, added his voice to those of the motorists and sympathised with their daily plight.

The GM said the growing communities on both sides of the bridge, coupled with constant maintenance have only exacerbated the traffic congestion.

“When you see the volumes that is required and the projected growth and demand that you expect in the future from the economy growing, a two-lane bridge definitely could not suffice,” GM Adams underscored.

He continued, “building a four-lane bridge, minimum, I think is what is required for the movement of traffic for its present demand and its future demand.”

DPI learnt after a study in 2010, the DHBC began allowing two lanes of traffic from the western side of the bridge to traverse to the eastern side to reduce traffic congestion.

The operation occurs on week days in the morning hours and the reciprocal, occurs during the afternoon rush hour to dissipate the traffic leaving Georgetown.

The Government last weekend began the process for the new bridge by advertising for Expressions of Interest (EOI) for the design-build of the bridge.

The aim is to have a new four-lane, high-span fixed bridge from La Grange to Nandy Park.

The new bridge is a flagship project for the PPP/C Administration and a campaign promise to Guyanese already on the way to realisation.

On September 26, His Excellency Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali visited the proposed site where the bridge will terminate in Nandy Park. There, the President assured reporters that the bridge will be built following consultations with residents.