Consultation, adequate planning critical before span nine installation – Min. Edghill

The installation of the Demerara Harbour Bridge’s (DHB) ‘span nine’ is a massive undertaking that requires adequate preparatory measures.

Minister of Public Works, Bishop Juan Edghill providing an update on Monday said several factors must be considered before the new span is installed, stressing that there will be no disruption of the bridge without proper consultation, planning, and adequate notice.

Minister Edghill told the Department of Public Information (DPI) that the technical team is putting systems in place for a speedy and effective installation.

Span nine being transported to its mooring location south of the DHB

“Removing the old span nine and installing the new one will not be a regular opening and closing of the bridge. The engineers have provided us with a work programme that will require several days, and we have asked them to reverse and rework so that whenever we get that in place, we will be able to execute it within a minimum time frame,” he explained.

The public works ministry plans to engage stakeholders to ensure the movement of people and supplies is well organised, as well as agencies including the Guyana Police Force to maintain law and order during that time.

“We are engaging, and working to find the best suitable time, and this also has to do with tide, because we need a certain kind of tide to provide the required environment for the moving and replacing.”

The span has been transported from the drydock and is anchored south of the DHB awaiting installation.

The $1.2 billion structure will significantly enhance the bridge’s retraction operation by enabling wider vessels to pass.

Meanwhile, the newly commissioned $73 million power barge will be utilised in the interim to carry commuters from the east to the west side during the replacement period.

The DHB, which has a total of 61 spans, sustained major damage late last year after the Panama-registered oil tanker, MV Tradewind Passion crashed into the bridge, rendering it inoperable for several days.

The crash made it critical to implement a series of emergency repairs, which included the changing of two static rollers, a transom beam, six panels, and the mechanism to secure the changes.