By Kurt Campbell
[www.inewsguyana.com] – Technical/Engineering Staff of the Demerara Harbor Bridge (DHB) are gearing themselves for a two day replacement program on the overpass, which will result in the closure of the bridge to heavy duty vehicles [vehicles over 22 tons] on Saturday September 21 and Sunday September 22,2013.
The replacement program will see the changing of six pivots on span one and two of the bridge which is located at the eastern end of the 61 span link, an activity that has not taken place since the bridge was installed 35 years ago.
According to General Manager of the DHB Rawlston Adams, this activity is an investment of over $5M and can result in the bridge losing approximately $120,000 from the two day of closure to heavy duty vehicles.
The new pivots that will be installed were made by Courtney Benn Construction using the model of an old pivot. Cars, minibuses, vans and persons transporting ration across the bridge along with vessels are not expected to be affected.
Adams told reporters during a press conference at the facility’s head office today, Friday September 20 that such repairs were geared toward ensuring a collapse of sections of the bridge never recurs.
“The pivots are very corroded and full of rust and it must be replaced before we face a similar fate to what happened last year” the GM said. In July of 2012, repairs to the pivots on span 59 and 60 were conducted.
Adams further explained that preparatory works for this two day exercise started four months ago, adding that the cost for these repairs are far in excess of what was initially spent and that all works on the overpass will be done by the bridge’s staff.
The Government recently announced that it was looking at the possibility of constructing a new Demerara Harbor Crossing, for which a feasibility study is ongoing.
Adams however explained that the bridge is still not making enough money to sustain its own operations.
“Though the bridge have seen between 5-7% increases in its revenue over the years it is still not enough” he said, adding that the management of the bridge would love to increase tolls but it remains outside of their remit.