More than $1 billion has been expended to rectify the damages to the Demerara Harbour Bridge to ensure the bridge remains operable to persons and goods and services. This unexpected and exorbitant cost resulted from the collision of an oil tanker with the bridge.
On October 8, the MV Tradewind Passion smashed into the bridge causing substantial damages, rendering it inoperable for a few days.
However, according to a document presented to the National Assembly by Public Works Minister, Bishop Juan Edghill, a whopping $1,001,084,615 was doled out to remedy the various issues on the bridge, attributed to the collision.
The Demerara Harbour Bridge Corporation took on repairs to the steel walkway step, and removed and installed another pontoon. A sum of money was also given to the injured shift supervisor and dietary supplies were purchased for the emergency workers who laboured from October 8-10.
Together with the loss of toll and marine revenue, the Contractor, Demerara Harbour Bridge Internal, was awarded $128,903,085.
V. Rodriques Diving Services charged $20,800,000 for diving services to install damaged anchor blocks, temporary navigation buoys in channels, reconnect anchor chains, patch leak under the pontoon and remove sunken cluster piles.
J & J Auto Sales charged $1,420,000 to transport needed materials to the bridge and remove damaged items.
GAICO was paid $17,784,000 for the use of an excavator and a tug, while RSD Cargo Transit Inc. billed $5,403,600 for the rental of a Hiab truck to assist with repair works.
EC Vieira Investment Inc. requested $540,112,069 for the rental of its equipment and the fabrication works to the bridge and Industrial Fabrication Inc. charged $268,532,461 for additional fabrication services.
The sum of $18,165,400 was charged by IB Contracting and Machinery Rental for the supply and driving of damaged cluster piles at the retractor span.
As the hefty sum had to be expended to repair the critical bridge, Minister Edghill has remained staunch that the Demerara Harbour Bridge Corporation must be compensated.
Only a few days ago, the minister took to his Facebook page and stated "all of Guyana is assured that the Government will continue to vigorously pursue its claims in this matter to ensure that the Demerara Harbour Bridge is justly compensated for the damages caused by the Tradewind Passion."
However, the vessel departed Guyana without the DHBC and the Maritime agency being informed.
Following a court order, the vessel was released from being impounded and the owner of the vessel was ordered to pay $247,403,671 pending the litigation for the damages.
But, according to Minister Edghill "it must be noted that there was no actual payment of monies into the Court."
With the construction of the new Demerara River Crossing, such collisions will be avoided.