New US$35M Mackenzie/Wismar, Linden Bridge to boost trade, ease traffic congestion

History was made in Linden, Region Ten on Friday as a US$35 million contract was signed for the construction of the new four-lane Mackenzie-Wismar Bridge.

President Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali witnessed the signing during a simple ceremony in Linden. He was joined Minister of Public Works, Juan Edghill and Minister within the Ministry, Deodat Indar

President Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali, Minister of Public Works, Bishop Juan Edghill, Minister within the Ministry of Public Works, Deodat Indar, Minister within the Ministry of Housing and Water, Susan Rodrigues and regional representative during the turning of the sod at the area where new Mackenzie-Wismar Bridge will be constructed

The documents were signed Permanent Secretary, Vladim Persaud and Managing Director of China Railway Construction (Caribbean) Co. Ltd, Dong Sheng Li.

The new bridge will be a 220-meter-long precast concrete structure, including vital safety features such as lighting. It will boast a maximum horizontal clearance of 32 meters and a vertical clearance of 11.5 meters.

During his address, President Ali said the bridge is expected to be completed in two years, easing traffic congestion and provide seamless trade and economic growth.

The current bridge linking Mackenzie and Wismar was constructed over 50 years ago. It has evolved into a crucial bottleneck, impeding traffic flow by allowing only one lane at a time.

The president explained that vehicles traversing this bridge has almost doubled in the past years, moving from 768,000 in 2020 to in excess of 1.5 million.

He emphasised that the transformative project not only holds immense potential for the region’s development, but will play a significant role in the broader vision of strengthening trade between Guyana and Brazil.

It is an integral part of a network designed to connect Guyana with a deep-water harbor in Berbice.

An aerial view of the existing Mackenzie-Wismar Bridge

This network extends from the East Bank Demerara through the Soesdyke Linden Highway, linking to the Linden to Mabura Road, continuing on to Takutu (Lethem) and into Brazil.

“This bridge…will create immense opportunity in positioning region 10 as the engineering and mechanical hub and transport and logistics hub not only for mining, but also for the trade that exist between Brazil and Guyana and CARICOM,” he underscored.

According to the president, in just three years, under the PPP/C Government, investments in the region under the regional capital programme stands at $2.5 billion.

Among other developmental projects includes a call center creating jobs for young people, and the part time job initiative which has employed over 1000 persons in Linden, most of whom are single mothers.

A number of community roads were also upgraded at a total investment of $3 billion, There is also a massive housing programme providing over 400 house lots and launching the 1000 homes project for young professionals in Amelia’s Ward.

“In housing and water investment, five years under the APNU/AFC was less than a billion. In our three years, the investment is topping $4 billion,” President Ali highlighted.

Residents gathered to witness the signing of the contract for the new Mackenzie-Wismar Bridge

Importantly, he said, some 100 small contractors benefitted directly from these projects.

Meanwhile, the Minister of Public Works, Bishop Juan Edghill reiterated that the bridge construction is not a ‘stand alone project,’

“Accelerate work for the completion of the thoroughfare that could move you seamlessly from Georgetown into Brazil is at work,” Minister Edghill underscored.

The bridge project is just one facet of the government’s commitment to developing all sectors in Region Ten.

President Ali was joined by three Ministers including Minister within the Ministry of Housing and Water, Susan Rodrigues, Members of Parliament for the APNU+AFC Jermaine Figuera and Devin Sears, and other regional officials as well as citizens from Linden.