In the wake of plans to have a new bridge built across the Demerara River, Government is still contemplating whether or not it will retain the current Demerara Harbour Bridge upon completion of the new facility.
Junior Minister within the Public Infrastructure Ministry, Annette Ferguson, in a recent television interview, said Government was exploring whether to keep the existing structure along with the new fixed bridge.
Only late last week, Government announced that it had gone ahead with the signing of the contract for a feasibility study with Dutch company Lievense CSO. The study, which commences in January 2017, is expected to last for some six months.
In 2013, the Bridge Corporation, in collaboration with the then Public Works Ministry, had carried out a pre-feasibility study. That study concluded that a fixed high-level bridge was the best option to pursue.
The feasibility study will consider the model, the tender documents and the sites proposed and it will also make the final pronouncement on whether or not the construction is something that the country can go forward with.
In December 2015, 22 companies from around the world submitted bids to conduct the study and furnish a design for the bridge. So far, three areas are being examined for the construction of the bridge – which are between Houston, East Bank Demerara (EBD) and Versailles, West Bank Demerara (WBD); between Peters Hall, EBD and Schoonord, on the WBD; and between New Hope, EBD and at Laurentia Catherina, WBD.
The bridge must have a navigational clearance of 100 metres wide, with navigational aids, an air draft of 50 metres, adequate marine collection protection at the navigating channels and an estimated length of 2250 meters.
Faced with constant mechanical problems and heavy traffic, calls were made for the construction of a new bridge across the Demerara River. Floating at 1.25 miles, the Demerara Harbour Bridge is a strategic link between the eastern and western banks of the Demerara River.
The current structure, which opened in July 1978 with the expectation of lasting only 10 years, has been floating for 38 years. (Guyana Times)