Scheduled retraction of Harbour Bridge to recommence Saturday

The scheduled retraction of the Demerara Harbour Bridge is slated to recommence this weekend following the incident last Sunday.

While the bridge has reopened to vehicular traffic, it has not had a retraction since the retractors are not yet realigned.

A vessel crossing upon retraction of the Demerara Harbour Bridge

General Manager of the Demerara Harbour Bridge Corporation Wayne Watson said works to rectify the issue began Wednesday evening by Industrial Fabrications Inc.

“Based on the last conversation I had with the contractor, it is recommended that we do not do a nighttime retraction. We do a daytime retraction for testing purposes and verify that the retractor span and the high span, are working in sync. Because of the hit we discovered, there are some bens within the span and we just want to ensure public safety. So, we are working to reopen the bridge so that both vessels, trucks and other small vehicles can traverse. So, give and take we are looking by Saturday,” the General Manager explained.

Once rectified, vessels will resume passing. However, it was pointed out by Watson that a test will be done before the scheduled retraction recommences.

“We are going to test it on Friday during the day. So, sometime between one to two thirty because we want to do one and a half hours. When we are testing, we are also going to allow some critical vessels like fuel and other critical supplies, we will allow those vessels to pass. So, we want to do it with the tide so that we can facilitate those vessels simultaneously while we are testing,” he said.

Last Sunday, a passing vessel hit the bridge which has served Guyanese for over 44 years and shifted a section out of alignment.

Recognising the importance of the bridge, the government has invested billions to maintain the thoroughfare through consecutive budgets.

However, a $52 billion contract was signed for the construction of a New Demerara River Crossing. It is the fulfilment of a manifesto commitment made by the PPP/C Administration.

It will feature a modern four-lane structure measuring 2.65 kilometres in length with the width of the driving surface being 23.6 metres. The high-span bridge will eliminate the need for retractions, will feature a cycle lane and will have a lifespan of 100 years.