Works are slated to reinforce recent repairs to the collapsed Supenaam stelling access way later this week, following which a review of the structure will be undertaken.
According to Marcelene Merchant, General Manager of the Works Ministry’s Transport and Harbours Department (T&HD), a team of engineers will journey to the Essequibo Coast location either Thursday or Friday to do the additional works to address the defect.
Earlier this month, a section of the access way to the ramps collapsed under the weight of a heavy-duty truck, which was transporting several tonnes of rice to the capital city. The collapse is believed to have occurred when a hole, created under the turning wheels of numerous heavy-duty trucks, which, over time, grew larger until it could no longer take the weight of the traversing heavy-duty traffic.
Essequibo rice farmers and millers were among the hardest hit by the collapse as the amount of rice their trucks could carry onto the stelling was limited to nine tonnes. The usual limit is around 13 tonnes. Although one of the millers, Golden Fleece Rice Investment, financed $700,000 in repairs to the access way, the works have been deemed insufficient.
According to a T&HD engineer, the repair work facilitated by Golden Fleece Rice Investment saw steel plates being fitted across the collapsed section of the access way. Below these steel plates, Stabroek News was told, there is no support and if they were to be removed one would still be able to see the river.
The objective of the visiting engineering team later this week will be to fortify the repair work. This will be accomplished by removing the steel plates and then installing some kind reinforcement agent into the void, and re-installing the plates.
This will make the repair job sturdier, but this newspaper was told that the work to be done is but a temporary solution. The official said that once the necessary materials and equipment are in place, they will be able to complete the work within three days of starting.
It is uncertain how traffic traversing the stelling will be affected during this time.
Once the work is complete, however, the authorities say the entire structure will be reviewed to determine how to address any further defects.
Since the completion of the stelling in 2010, it has been plagued with complication and the BK International, the contracting firm which built the structure, has traded blame with the Works Ministry, saying that the ministry “messed” up the stelling with modifications it made.