President Ali inspects ongoing works on Demerara Harbour Bridge

engineers working to have bridge open to light traffic by Monday evening

President Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali, this afternoon visited and inspected ongoing repair works on the Demerara Harbour Bridge, which sustained extensive structural damage following impact from a fuel tanker on Saturday morning.

President Ali was updated on the progress of reparative works by the engineering team, who assured that the bridge will be open to light traffic by Monday evening.

Engineer attached to Industrial Fabrications Inc (InFab), Gerry ‘Max’ Gouveia informed the head of state that a plan is currently in place to ensure that the bridge can accommodate the light traffic, however much more work is still needed given the extent of the damage.

“From the impact of the vessel what we’re having is major alignment issues with both span nine and span ten, at this point in time what we’re trying to do is get everything into align and close the bridge up, but there is still a lot of issues just from the impact,” the engineer related to President Ali.

President Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali inspected ongoing works at the Demerara Harbour Bridge

Meanwhile, General Manager of the Demerara Harbour Bridge Corporation, Wayne Watson, in providing his update, noted that from the preliminary assessment of the damage, he is confident that once the spans are fixed, the bridge can be open to light traffic.

President Ali commended the team for the prompt response and for working assiduously “around the clock” to conduct the repairs on the bridge.

“We also have to relook now at the guidelines because we have bigger ships coming in, we have faster vessels and the bridge really is being nursed along at this stage in the bridge life and we can’t, every time there is an impact… in fact this is the worst impact we’ve ever had and when this happens, it adds to the fragility of the bridge,” the president pointed out.

He noted that while repairs are being conducted on the DHB, works on the new river crossing will be expedited.

The Public Works Ministry back in May signed a $52 billion (US$260 million) contract for the construction of the long-awaited new Demerara River Crossing.

The move falls into the government’s plans to expand and modernise Guyana’s transport infrastructure, and significantly reduce the incessant traffic woes on the East Bank of Demerara.

The project, which has been long in the making by the PPP/C Administration, was awarded to China Railway Construction Corporation Limited. It has begun and will be completed within two years. The hybrid designed bridge will feature a modern four-lane structure (two carriageways), cycle lane, with a 2.65 kilometres length, driving surface of about 23.6 metres or 77.8 feet, with a lifespan of some 100 years.