From an environmental standpoint, New Demerara River Bridge will be better – President Ali assures

His Excellency, Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali, said the new high-span Demerara River Bridge will be an infrastructural and environmental improvement to the current structure, which has long outlived its life span.  

Dr. Ali was responding to questions from the local press on Friday, regarding the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) decision not carry out an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the new bridge. President Ali affirmed his confidence in the work and decisions of the critical agency.

Aerial shot of the Demerara Harbour Bridge

“You have [the current] Demerara Harbour Bridge now, which is a floating bridge that affects the flow and the sea bed; that is a big part of siltation…and you have a new high span that does not have anything to do with the flow of water. It is actually an improvement. In my analysis, it is an improvement from an environmental perspective, from a marine life perspective. It is an improvement from where we are to where we are going,” the Head of State articulated.

Vice President Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo, who was also present at the virtual press conference, echoed the position of President Ali.

“The replacement of the bridge will have less of an impact on maritime, marine organisms etc. The key thing is that for the road, they will have to provide a full-fledged environmental impact assessment for the road. But for the bridge of itself, I suspect that the EPA still needs studies done, but has moved away from the position that you need a full-fledged environmental impact assessment… The EPA’s approach is consistent with the law.”

The new Demerara River Bridge, which is set for completion by 2024, will include a four-lane, high-span fixed crossing from La Grange, West Bank Demerara, to Nandy Park, East Bank Demerara. The highly-anticipated hallmark project will not require opening nor retraction to allow for maritime traffic and will have a life span of at least 50 years.

This means that the current interruptions of traffic flow due to retractions will be a thing of the past. Further, as Guyana’s petroleum industry continues to expand rapidly, a non-retracting bridge will enable oil and gas tankers and support vessels to traverse the waters without physical restrictions.

The Government of Guyana has considered bids under two options; a design-build and finance option, and a design-build-operate and finance option.

Approximately 50 international companies had responded to the government’s invitation for submissions of Expressions of Interest (EOI) for the design-build of the new Demerara River Bridge, nine of which were pre-qualified.

The firms pre-qualified are China State Construction Eng. Corp (China); Ballast Needam Infra Suriname B.V.; China Geizhouba Group Co. Ltd (China); JV-China Railway International Group Co. Ltd; China Railway Major Bridge Eng. Group Co. Ltd; Reconnaisance & Design Inst. Co. Ltd (China); JV-China Road & Bridge Corp. Peutes y Calzadas Infrastructuras SLU (China and Spain); JV-OECI S.A. and Odebrecht Engenharia E. Coonstrucao S. A. OEC; JV-China Railway Construction Corporation (International) Ltd.; China Railway Construction (Caribbean a) Co. Ltd. and China Railway Construction Bridge Engineering Bureau Group Co. Ltd (China & Trinidad and Tobago); Boskalis Guyana Inc Eiffage Genie Civil (Guyana & Netherlands); and JV-Rizzani de Eccher S. p. A & Preconco Ltd (Italy and Barbados).

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