Completion of eastern approach to Berbice River Bridge set for May 15

By Wendella Davidson
The much-anticipated completion of the eastern approach of the Berbice River Bridge, which stretches from Crab Island to Palmyra, has been set for May 15.

This is according to Coordinator of the Works Services Group, Mr Rickford Lowe, who, in a telephone interview yesterday with the Guyana Chronicle, confirmed that the Trinidad contracting firm, Dipcon Engineering, is expected to hand over the final aspect of work on the facility on that date.

Speaking with the Chronicle also, engineer attached to the WSG, Mr Ron Rahaman, pointed out that on the western approach of the bridge, at De Edward Village, only one layer of concrete is left to be placed by the contractor.

At the commissioning of the bridge in December last year by President Bharrat Jagdeo, both the eastern and western approaches were incomplete.

As a consequence only light vehicles were being allowed to traverse the facility; meanwhile an April deadline for completion of the works was dogged by bad weather.

With only certain categories of vehicles being allowed to use the facility presently, the completion of the eastern approach and official handing-over by the Government is eagerly awaited by Berbicians. They are of the view that once this occurs, there would be an almost immediate reduction in the prices of several commodities.

Giving a status report on rehabilitation works on the Berbice/Corentyne Highway, Rahaman reminded that the work is being executed under two phases.

Work on Phase One, approximately 41.1 kilometes, and stretching from New Amsterdam to Number 36 Village, has been ongoing for over two years by Dipcon; and according to Lowe, the contractor has been granted a new completion date of this month-end.

Detailing Dipconxs aspect of the project, Rahaman said the contractor has completed about 92 per cent of the work and is currently executing two major activities at Palmyra and Adventure.

The WSG official explained that at the first location and according to project specifications, at Palmyra some two kilometres entails a compete reconstructing of the highway.

The work entails removal of old road material and replacing this with white sand, loom, crusher run before asphalting.

And at Adventure, the contractor has to remove the entire decking and have it recast. Already, half of that task has been completed and work is ongoing on the other half.

Phase Two was awarded to the K. Nauth consortium and B.K. International Inc. which, as partnered with Nauth, is working on 21.5 kilometres, from Number 36 to Number 63 Villages, while Nauth has the remaining portion of 23.8 kilometres, from Number 65 to Moleson Creek.

That phase has a completion date of September 2009, but Rahaman said at the pace the contractors are working a July deadline seems imminent.

Rahaman said that on his last inspection visit of the project on Friday , B.K workers who have completed some 75 per cent of their portion of the project were observed at work beyond Number 52 Village.

Nauthxs workers meanwhile have so far completed the five-kilometres stretch from Crabwood Creek to the Moleson Creek terminal which required chip-sealing.

Rahaman noted that some of the work which Nauth has to undertake between Number 63 to Crabrood Creek involves the removal of severely-aged asphalt from the roadway, using a milling machine.

With the contractor not possessing a milling machine of his own, and having to depend on using one owned by B.K whenever it is available, Rahaman said Nauthxs work has not been systematic.

Told of rumours that Nauth had imported quarrying material for the project, even as three local companies, Toolsie Persaud, B. K Inc and Rahamans, own and operate quarries, Rahaman said while the contract details are specific about the size of material to be used on such projects, there is no restriction as to where the contractor can source his material once it meets the requirement.

Noting that according to his understanding there was at the time of the importation an unavailability of the specific quarrying material for the project, half inch minus, Rahaman said. Of importance to contractors during a project is the issue of supply and demand.

Rahaman reiterated his satisfaction with the progress to-date of both phases of the project

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