As plans move apace for the construction of a new Mackenzie-Wismar Bridge in Region Ten (Upper Demerara-Berbice), four possible designs were unveiled during a virtual presentation by Politecnica Engineering and Architectural.
The project is being executed as part of the Transport Sector Enhancement Project by the Public Infrastructure Ministry.
Speaking during the presentation, Politecnica Environmental Management Specialist Marciano Glasgow emphasised that even as the company would have proceeded with the designs, an environmental and social impact assessment is being conducted.
He noted that as part of the procedure stipulated by the Environmental and Protection Agency (EPA), it was required to return to the community and discuss the design alternatives proposed to the Public Infrastructure Ministry and as such, the virtual forum allowed for the public to share its views on the proposals.
The Public Infrastructure Ministry is providing oversight on the project and while four designs were presented, the company indicated its preferred design option.
Glasgow noted that the company was cautioned that bauxite still plays a significant role in the livelihood of Linden and consideration should be given to the fact that ships transporting bauxite traverse the area, therefore the selected design must be away from that location in order to not obstruct the regular flow of vessels.
Another alternative, he mentioned, was that the new bridge has to be of a certain height to allow easy access underneath the structure.
In his presentation, team leader Francisco Reina said that the new bridge is proposed to be situated upstream of the Demerara River and south of the existing bridge.
It was noted during the presentation that the existing bridge will remain in place, with the suggestion for it to be utilised for pedestrians and non-vehicular traffic.
A decision has not yet been made, but Reina highlighted that the company has designed a two-road approach-one for the east river bank and the other for the west.
On both sides, the designs cater for new roundabouts which will connect the existing road networks. The bridge will also cater for two-lane traffic and pedestrian walkways.
The bridge will span 44 meters. According to the design, the bridge, road approaches and roundabouts will be equipped with street lights, underpass/culvert to maintain the continuity of existing roads, road safety barriers and sidewalks, with provisions made for access to the Linden Hospital Complex at Mackenzie.
Following the presentations, Deputy Mayor of Linden, Wainewright Bethune suggested the need for another consultation. The team has planned further engagements with the necessary stakeholders.