President sets 4-year timeline for new Demerara River bridge

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President Irfaan Ali at the proposed site in Peter’s Hall for the construction of the new Demerara River Bridge

President Irfaan Ali today declared that the new Demerara River crossing will be constructed within the next four years.

He made this announcement during a walkabout earlier today at proposed sites associated with the new bridge. The President visited two locations at Providence on the East Bank of Demerara, which are the proposed landing sites for the new Demerara River bridge.

Whilst at Peter’s Hall, President Ali clearly stated that the project, a four-lane fixed high-span bridge, must be completed over the next four years.

“Let me be very clear, we have to complete this bridge within four years – we have to! In my estimation, within three years from today we should have that bridge,” the Head of State told reporters today.

In fact, he disclosed that Government would begin inviting contractors to submit Expressions of Interest (EoIs) for the design, construction and financing options of the project in the coming days.

The President also assured residents that he will soon send officials from the Public Works Ministry to have consultations with them on the project.

President Ali with Public Works Ministers Juan Edghill and Deodat Indar along with other officials at the site in Providence where the eastern end of the new Demerara River Bridge will land

During the visit today, Public Works Minister Juan Edghill along with a team from his ministry also accompanied the Head of State. In addition to the site at Peter’s Hall, they also visited the Providence Housing Scheme.

There, Minister Edghill explained that the eastern end of the new bridge would land at the site earmarked there.

“Because of where the channel is located in Demerara River, which is closer to the eastern side, with a five per cent degree grade, you need about four thousand feet to be able to get a proper gradient existing of the bridge… So, we have to be able to create room and we have adequate room here at this alignment,” the Public Works Minister noted.

He further pointed out that with the bridge landing in the Providence Housing Scheme, it will also be interconnected with the East Coast/East Bank Bypass Road that the government is currently embarking on. That road will run from Ogle on the East Coast of Demerara to Haags Bosch in Eccles, EBD, in the first Phase and subsequently connected to Diamond, EBD.

The construction of the new Demerara River crossing is long overdue as the current Demerara Harbour Bridge (DHB) has exceeded its 20-year lifespan.

Additionally, the project will be a timely one, as the East Bank is notorious for its traffic congestions.

The former APNU/AFC government was originally going to go with a retractable, three-lane design but after immense criticism, had switched to a fixed four-lane proposal.