Harbour Bridge to close for seven hours Saturday – commuters warned to put measures in place
DPI, GUYANA, Tuesday, October 24, 2017
The Demerara Harbour Bridge will undergo critical maintenance within the next few days and commuters who transit the bridge are asked to put necessary measures in place to deal with extended bridge closures.
General Manager of the Demerara Harbour Bridge Corporation (DHBC), Rawlston Adams during a press conference today told media operatives that these closures are as a result of long overdue rehabilitation works.
The bridge will be closed for seven hours on Saturday morning from 8:30 hours. Adams explained that one of the extra-large pontoons which is used to support the bridge has to be changed.
He explained that two weeks ago the bridge was closed for six hours to accommodate the replacement of one of the pontoons under the retractor span on the western side. However, the “last of the extra-large pontoons under the retractor span on the eastern side which should have been changed over a year now, will be changed.”
According to the General Manager, on Wednesday, the engineers will remove the walkway, stairs, and platforms. Following this, on Thursday they will disconnect hinges, hydraulic pipes and install the temporary pontoons, and on Friday remove the hydraulic hinges and pipes. Saturday the switching of the pontoons will be completed.
Finally, on Sunday the system will be reconnected. There will be system checks conducted on Monday and by Tuesday the bridge should return to normal retractions.
“We’ve decided that we will do it one at a time and the method is to close the bridge to marine traffic, opened to vehicular traffic except for except for Saturday where we’ll be closing for a very lengthy period,” Adams highlighted.
Later in the year during the springtide period in the first week of November, DHBC will be changing one of the large pontoons. The Corporation has already replaced four of its five pontoons catered for in its 2017 work programme.
July 2018 will be the 40th anniversary of the Demerara Harbour Bridge. Adams maintains that there continue to be challenges including difficulties with some of the panels. “We’re seeing cracks and we’re doing work with them and we’re in discussion to change those panels next year which would mean that the bridge would have to be shut down for three days in the first quarter, but we’re discussing what would be done.”
Another challenge the bridge is plagued with is the issue of sourcing parts for it. Adams indicated that recently DHBC has been storing dismantled components from the railway embankment bridges especially pins and cardboards.
“We want to make sure we harvest all those components that come off those bridges and we use them for our maintenance purposes. We have harvested a couple of hundreds of cardboards which are very important for keeping all the panels and the frames together. The issue is that the quality of cardboards that we would buy is not the same quality as the original so we prefer to use the original,” Adams underscored.
The works on the bridge will be carried out at a cost of $102M.
By: Ranetta La Fleur