–for New Demerara River bridge project
A SUPERVISORY firm, which is expected to oversee construction of the new Demerara River Bridge, is in place and paves the way for the project to get underway soon.
This was according to the Minister of Public Works, Juan Edghill on Tuesday, as the National Assembly dissolved into the Committee of Supply for consideration of estimates for Budget 2023.
During the examination of estimates for his ministry, the minister was asked about the budgeted cost of some $5.163 billion for capital works and whether this budgeted sum caters for land acquisition among other things.
Edghill related that the contract for construction of this new bridge was signed in May of last year and as such, the firm which was later awarded the contract to supervise the works was recently received in the country.
“That supervisory firm took effect from January 15, 2023, and they are in their mobilisation stage,” he said, adding that he was able to meet with them on Friday last.
Minister Edghill said that the contractor is required to submit all of the reports on geotechnical-related matters and design to the supervisory firm for review and to have approval for the construction.
He informed the committee that the minister would not directly approve the design, geotechnical and other technical things. However, the supervisory firm that won the bid for this aspect of the project will undertake this.
Further, Edghill said the company that will be handling that aspect is Politecnica Ingegneria out of Italy.
The minister went on to tell the committee: “Just last Friday, an engagement was held with the contractor and the supervisory firm and my project team, and we will be able to keep the nation updated in another couple of weeks on the various stages of where the bridge will be.”
In relation to the matters of land acquisition, Edghill said that the Ministry of Housing and Water has successfully negotiated and handled all of the properties that are in the path of the bridge. He added that there has been no resistance from anyone, regarding their removal for the project to get underway.
The Public Works Minister said too that the civil-works contractor has been mobilised and the site office has already been established.
Additionally, site clearing has been done and preliminary works and other aspects have been completed.
“There are in excess of 35 technical staff from the contractor from China who are in the country, there are a number of Guyanese who have already been hired, the issues of the alignment and where the bridge is going has already been clarified… the surveys, levels and everything that needed to be done that would have necessitated the Ministry of Housing engaging people for relocation, all of that has been done,” Edghill affirmed.
On May 25, 2022, a US$260 million contract was signed for construction of the new Demerara River Bridge.
A joint venture of Chinese companies, led by China Railway Construction Corporation is expected to undertake the project.
The new bridge is expected to be some 2.65 kilometres with two carriageways and four lanes. It is a hybrid design with the high span having a cable-stay design, even as the vertical height of the bridge is to be constructed at 50 metres from the mean highest watermark.
This new bridge is said to have a design lifespan of 100 years and will take the place of the existing bridge, which has been in operation for more than 40 years, passing its projected lifespan.