A month after concerns were raised about the state of the $28 million Kumaka-San Jose Bridge in Region One, residents have once again voiced their displeasure over the quality of the ongoing works.
Speaking to Stabroek News recently, APNU MP Richard Allen claimed that since Local Government Minister Ganga Persaud promised to have initial concerns addressed, including the reuse of decking boards, nothing has been done.
Attempts to contact Persaud have been unsuccessful.
Late last month, after the residents voiced their displeasure about the construction of the bridge, the minister announced that an engineer from the city would be dispatched into the area to evaluate the works.
Allen said that the site was visited by himself, the Regional Executive Officer (REO), the contractor, the Assistant REO (AREO), as well as the Regional Engineer on December 6 last year, after residents had previously complained about the quality of works being done.
Allen said that some of the problems identified included the absence of a Clerk of Works at the site. It was also discovered that the Regional Engineer, whose responsibility it was to monitor the works, failed to make sufficient trips to evaluate the quality of works being done.
In addition, he said, the contractor who was charged with the construction of the bridge had pointed out several problems with the bridge’s design and had indicated these problems to the REO.
Several works still have not been completed, though the bridge was to be completed last November, construction having commenced since last May, said Allen. He added that concrete was still to be poured into tubing, which is to form part of the bridge’s support base.
He also said that revetment, which is supposed to support the road near the bridge, has not been completed.
Allen said that the poles for the revetment that have been set are already sprawled, presumably since they were not the required length. He explained that the poles were approximately 12 feet long, which means that only seven feet of the poles would have been driven into the ground. He said that as a result of the insufficient length, the bottoms have sprawled and shifted them out of place.
This issue, said Allen, was among the problems identified by the contractor. Allen said that the contractor mentioned that if the poles were not long enough, it would lead to the sprawling of the revetment after the backfilling was done.
He also noted that an inspection of the bridge plans showed that no consideration was made for the construction of a left side railing. He said that the contractor nevertheless built the railing off his own initiative.
Furthermore, he said that the decking planks used on the bridge are insufficient, considering the heavy traffic that traverses the structure on a daily basis. In addition, he said that much of the weight of the new bridge is being borne by the foundation of the old structure, which is unacceptable. Even more than this, he added, the support props from the old structure are also being used to support the current bridge.
The general conception in this matter, according to Allen, is that the initial plans for the bridge had multiple flaws, which were identified and queried by the contractor, which should have been dealt with. He made it clear that though the contractor would have carried out the works, he would not be casting blame in his direction, since he would have pointed out the flaws from the inception.