Driver nearly sends loaded truck off Demerara Harbour Bridge : –flees scene as traffic backs up for hours

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TRAFFIC on both sides of the Demerara Harbour Bridge (DHB) was brought to a standstill for almost one hour just after 14:30hrs, yesterday, as a heavy-duty machine was deployed to the DHB to remove a truck laden with crusher-run after it almost ran off the bridge. altaltThe first media house to respond to the report was the Guyana Chronicle, and this reporter was able to speak about the mishap with the porter who was travelling, at the time, with the driver in the vehicle. The porter, who gave his name as Deevan, said the truck was heading west on the bridge when it failed to climb one of the ramps. From all indications, he said, the driver was attempting to climb the ramp while the truck was in a high gear, and that eventually led to the vehicle’s engine cutting off and the vehicle rolling backwards.

Asked to explain how the truck ended up in the position in which it became stuck, the porter explained that the truck began rolling backwards after it had failed to climb the ramp, and the driver had to consider piloting the vehicle between the edge of the bridge and vehicles which were approaching from behind, lest he would have collided with one of them.

He said that earlier in the day, the truck had developed mechanical problems and had to be taken to the mechanic’s shop.

The porter further said that as the truck was rolling backwards on the bridge, he realized it was heading to the edge of the bridge, and he shouted to the driver to stop the truck, but the man did not heed his caution.

altAfter the incident, the truck driver remained on the bridge for a while, then disappeared before police or bridge officials arrived on scene. Nevertheless, the Chronicle was able, earlier, to take his photograph as he made several calls following the mishap.

Yesterday, one of the owners of the truck explained to this publication that the owners had received a call from the porter informing them of the tragedy on the bridge. He said they had recently purchased the truck, and the driver had been employed from last week Thursday, April 25.

The man said the owners have all the information on the driver, and they will pass same on to the police to aid in their investigations and capture of the man, who in essence had fled an accident scene.

altThe presence of the truck dangling precariously from the edge of the bridge, and that of the high-powered machine that was employed to remove it, caused the management of the Demerara Harbour Bridge to close the structure to traffic as they worked to make it again safe for use. This closure, resulted in traffic on both sides of the bridge to back up for miles along the eastern and western banks of the Demerara River.

Speaking with the media at the Harbour Bridge after the truck had been removed, DHB General Manager Rawleston Adams said he had received a distress call from a supervisor, who informed him that a truck had been stuck on the western rector span 8 of the bridge.

Having arrived on the scene and assessing the situation, he said, a decision was taken to close the bridge after it was feared that the vibration of other passing vehicles and the tides would have triggered the truck falling into the Demerara River, or coming to rest on one of the pontoons being used to float the bridge.

Adams said that examination done after the truck had been removed revealed some amount of damage to the track of the span which is used to carry the power cables that are responsible for the retraction of the bridge. There was also some amount of abnormality to the power cables, which would have to be looked at. He admitted that there seemed to have been no structural damage in an initial examination of the bridge.

Adams said there was a cost attached to employing the crane to remove the truck, and the management of the bridge will advise the owners of the truck of the extent of their liability in this regard. They would also be expected to bear some, if not all, of the cost for the other damage to the bridge, once determined.