Gov’t aims to reopen Harbour Bridge to light vehicular traffic by Monday night
Minister of Public Works Juan Edghill on Saturday afternoon disclosed that a team is currently working around the clock to get the Demerara Harbour Bridge reopened to light vehicular traffic by Monday night.
During a press conference held at the Harbour Bridge boardroom, Minister Edghill disclosed that at about 02:00h, fuel tanker MV Tradewind Passion, which is assigned to GuyOil, collided with the Demerara Harbour Bridge, rendering it inoperable.
The bridge was open to ocean-going vessels at the time, and maintenance works were ongoing. As a result of the collision, a worker – Andy Duke - was injured and suffered a broken leg.
As a result, a Board of Inquiry was commissioned to investigate the circumstances which led to the accident. The inquiry will begin on Sunday.
“Four spans of the bridge are damaged. The last time you hear about damage, you heard about span nine and span 10. Now, we have four spans of the bridge are damaged significantly,” the Public Works Minister revealed, noting that components are being manufactured and private sector contractors are being engaged.
NEW DEMERARA HARBOUR BRIDGE
Moreover, Minister Edghill noted that Saturday’s morning accident underscored the dire need for the $25 billion new Demerara Harbour Bridge.
According to him, “we would not have a situation like what we have here today and what we have some weeks ago, where we had a similar situation. I am sure if Guyanese would be saying, please build the new high-span bridge and do it quickly, so we don’t have to be suffering.”
As a result of the closure of the Demerara Harbour Bridge, river taxis between Vreed-En-Hoop and Georgetown will offer a 24-hour service until further notice.
“We visited both facilities to ensure that we have in place all of the safety requirements, adequate lighting, monitoring, Police presence, and everything that is required to ensure users’ comfort.”
Additional locations where commuters can access water ferries were implemented. These include the MARAD boathouse, and as of Sunday, persons can access boats from the Demerara Harbour Bridge, which will take them to La Grange on the West Bank of Demerara (WBD). A fourth location is being identified.
“We are working very hard to see if we can get this done by Monday night. But this is being optimistic, and we don’t want to deceive the people of Guyana. It may be 72 hours. It may be 96 hours, and we hope we don’t have to go beyond that.”
The Harbour Bridge is also exploring the option with suppliers to get barges across the river to not disrupt the supply chain.
Further, Minister Edghill noted that the Corporation is also exploring all legal options in resolving the matter.
As we look to the future, the Public Works Ministry and the Harbour Bridge will look to adjust the boundaries near the floating structure while having MARAD water Pilots on board these vessels.
Just over a month ago, a Tug and Barge slammed into the Harbour Bridge, halting vehicular traffic for several hours.
In fact, only in March, a tug and barge crashed into the 44-year-old bridge, dislocating a pontoon anchoring chain.