Truck operators urged to observe bridges’ weight limits

-following collapse of Pirara bridge

Minister of Public Works, Hon. Bishop Juan Edghill has urged heavy-duty truck operators to act responsibly and observe the weight limit of bridges before crossing.

The Minister made the plea on Sunday during a two-day outreach to Region Six, at the weekend.

Minister of Public Works, Hon. Bishop Juan Edghill

He was referring to Saturday’s incident at the Pirara Bridge in the Rupununi, Region Nine, where a section of the structure collapsed under the weight of a motor lorry. The mishap left several vehicles stranded on both sides.

Minister Edghill said the Government cannot fix roads and bridges, only to have them damaged by careless individuals.  

“I have to make this appeal again to all operators, owners and users of trucks, we have to stay within the right limit,” he said.

At the same time, the Minister said while it appears that the truck was overweight, “The [only] way to establish the weight that is in the truck is by having a scale.”

It is against this backdrop that the Minister referred to the millions of dollars spent by the Coalition to purchase scales for this purpose, although to date none is in use.  

“Why those scales are not with the Ministry that we could be using on projects like this? It’s a scandal of monumental proportion. The Auditor General had to write about it in the 2016 Audit Report. It was examined at Public Accounts [Committee] and it’s now the subject of a forensic audit,” he said.

Additionally, the Minister said the PPP/C Government plans to do things differently.

“The good thing is that President Mohamed Irfaan Ali and Vice President Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo, are very keen on long-term sustainable infrastructural development.

My hinterland engineers are engaged in an exercise. They are examining every bridge between Kurupukari and Lethem, making sure we get the dimensions and possible costing because we intend to roll out projects replacing all of those timber bridges with concrete to improve traffic safety,” Minister Edghill relayed.

Meanwhile, the Minister said the private sector has already been engaged and is helping offload the truck to ensure its faster removal off the bridge.

Engineers were immediately instructed to mobilise all resources to have the corridor properly reopened soon after the incident.

While Government is keen on remedying the situation as soon as possible, Minister Edghill said establishing an alternative route in and out of Lethem is difficult because of the high water level at the crossing.