The flimsy version of the bridge had been constructed last December in less than one day, residents had reported earlier this year. Its capacity then was seven tonnes but residents were insistent that it would not have been able to sustain this weight because of the poor construction. The substandard work, which residents were adamant was a waste of state funds, had outraged that section of the Bee Hive community. Bobby White Street residents had declared the structure as an “inconvenience” which was “unsafe”.
In early August, months after residents had first raised concerns about the bridge, residents insisted that the bridge be rebuilt and were upset that up to then the structure had remained “untouched”.
Chatenauth Gyandat, a resident of the area and contractor since 1971, had explained to Stabroek News in early August that the only way to correct the bridge was to rebuild it.
At the time Gyandat had stressed the project was a waste of the state’s funds. Funds were allocated via Region Four for the original work and it is unclear who funded the 15-ton rebuilding and at what cost.
A visit to the bridge last week showed that it had been rebuilt and a sign, which warns that 15 tons is the maximum weight the bridge can carry, had been erected. Gyandat’s wife, speaking to this newspaper via telephone, said the bridge had been rebuilt almost a month ago.
Another resident, who asked that their name not be published, said “it is a relief that this bridge had finally been rebuilt.” However, the resident insisted that although the bridge had been rectified it does not change the fact that state funds were wasted unnecessarily and state employees were not carrying out their duties.
“I am grateful that the issue has finally been addressed,” the resident said, “because I was beginning to think that after almost ten months they were clearly not going to do anything about the bridge…but the issue doesn’t stop at the bridge because questions still need to be answered about why a flimsy structure was allowed to be built in the first place. It was just a grand waste of time and state funds.”
Meanwhile, Chairman of the Region Four Democratic Council Clement Corlette, when contacted last week, said he has not been following the issue surrounding the bridge and could not say whether the correction process was overseen by the regional authorities.
Corlette had told this newspaper that there were two contracts related to the initial “flimsy bridge”. The first contract, according to him, was for an amount just over $1.3M. During the construction of the bridge, he explained, the contract was amended to just over $1.1M. Questioned about the $200,000 reduction in the contract, Corlette had stated that it was noticed that the beams used by the contractor were short two feet of the specified length so the contract was amended to facilitate the lower cost of the shorter beams.
The “roughly constructed” bridge was built in less than a day and a subsequent inspection revealed that the project’s contract had most likely been breached by the contractor, Narindra Lachman. The bridge provides access from the East Coast Public Road to Bee Hive North and is the only way by which vehicles can access the area.
The RDC and Regional Executive Officer (REO) Shafdar Alli still have not said what action will be taken against the regional engineer Stephen Glasgow, who was allegedly responsible for oversight of the project. Glasgow has also remained silent about the matter.
Despite Corlette’s earlier refusals to comment and claims that there was nothing wrong with the structure despite some minor faults it has now been rebuilt. Stabroek News was unable to ascertain the cost of the new structure.