In addition to the three bridges under construction on the railway line on the East Coast of Demerara (ECD), the Ministry of Public works has plans to rehabilitate 13 more aqua panel bridges from Sheriff Street to Enmore.
According to the Minister of Public Works, Bishop Juan Edghill the bridge at Beterverwagting will be completed by the end of May and the one at Chateau Margot is 70 percent completed as the contractors are demolishing the bridge and preparing the embedment for the accepting of the pre-cast slabs. The pouring of concrete on the embedment will commence this weekend.
The bridge at Beterverwagting costs $57.8 million and is being rehabilitated by C&L Contracting Services while the bridge at Chateau Margot costs $27.2 million and is being undertaken by Phanteon Construction.
The construction processes have led to various traffic woes for persons residing on the East Coast of Demerara.
Minister Edghill, on Wednesday, conducted site visits to the locations where he pleaded with citizens to be patient with the redirection of traffic while the works are ongoing. He said his ministry is collaborating with the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Guyana Police Force (GPF) to reduce traffic congestion during the morning rush hours.
“As Minister responsible for public works I want to apologise to all the citizens who would’ve been inconvenienced. We want to assure the residents we are doing everything within our power to finish this swiftly because we understand when you interrupt a bridge in the main thoroughfare you are really interfering with people’s lives.
“I have spoken to the Minister of Home Affairs and we have made arrangements as a traffic plan to take off the traffic that would normally traverse into the city or head west in the mornings. They have implemented a three-lane on the four-lane highway heading west and one lane heading east in the morning, so as to compensate for the traffic that would’ve normally been on the railway embankment,” he said.
Minister Edghill further noted that the contractors are being urged to expedite the works so that the interruptions can be short-lived.
The minister noted that the bridges are part of a programme, which seeks to replace aqua-panel bridges with pre-cast, pre-stressed concrete structures, for strong and enduring infrastructure. This measure is as a result of deteriorating steel members which are affected by the rising sea level and salt air, due to the proximity to the Atlantic Ocean.