Last Updated on Wednesday, 15 March 2017, 19:25 by Denis Chabrol
A feasibility study has identified several possible locations, including the existing one at Peter’s Hall, to construct the new Demerara Harbour Bridge which Public Infrastructure Minister, David Patterson said would definitely be a fixed high-span bridge.
“The only good this is the study has shown that design- wise it is extremely feasible. You don’t have to do anything fancy,” Patterson told Demerara Waves Online News.
He said if a new location- either New Hope, Eccles, Houston- is chosen government would have to compulsorily acquire a number of properties on the West Bank Demerara in Region Three. In all, he said six or seven locations including the current one at Peter’s Hall have been identified by the consultants with lengths ranging from approximately 580 metres to just under 2,000 metres. “The designers mapped the (Demerara) River from the mouth until past Hope by hydrology mapping,” he said.
The existing Demerara Harbour Bridge, which was commissioned on July 2, 1978, is 1,851 meters long.
He said there would also be environmental implications for mangroves, widely regarded as a sea and river defence mechanism and a natural habitat for birds.
The Minister said the cost of constructing the new bridge would depend on the width, height and other combinations in the design. Consultations would be held with Cabinet to decide on the first ranked option and its cost before taking the matter for public consultations by mid-April, 2017.
Another of the major consideration is whether to build a two, three or four-lane bridge because a wider bridge, the experts said, would require wider roads to accommodate the traffic. “The roads are still very narrow and congested,” he said.
In contrast to the existing retractor span bridge that has to open to allow large vessels to traverse up and down the river, Patterson said the new structure would be fixed and “it wouldn’t be a floating bridge.”
A statement issued by the Ministry of Public Infrastructure said Patterson, along with a team from the Ministry, and General Manager of the Demerara Harbour Bridge Corporation, Mr. Rawlston Adams, Wednesday met with LievenseCSO to discuss the feasibility study for the new Demerara River crossing.
Mr. ArieMol of the Dutch company led a presentation of the concluded feasibility study, which commenced on January 15, 2017.
In his presentation, Mr. Mol touched on a number of points, including river/marine traffic, river modelling, and economic and environmental considerations. A more detailed presentation of the feasibility study is expected to be made at a later date. Additionally, draft reports will be made to Cabinet and then open to consultation in April.