Guyana cannot support economically a new bridge over the Demerara

Dear Editor,

The Chinese have been asked to put up a proposal to design and build the high level concrete bridge across the Demerara River and in my opinion Guyana does not have the population to economically support such a venture.

T&HD have put forward their parameters for construction ‒ a 2 lane bridge going and coming with a central support 100 metres wide and height above high tide 50 metres. These are indeed formidable conditions in view of Guyana’s soft soil parameters. I worked in the Far East and am acquainted with this type of design and construction. The entrance to the bridge on both sides will have to be over 8 metres and the foundation piers close together since they will be founded not on rock but on the coropina clay below. Cofferdams also have to be constructed.

In my opinion the cost will far exceed US$500M. In a recent press release T&HD stated they collected US$1M in fees from vehicles crossing the old rackety floating bridge. Even if they collect five times more for this bridge it will take the government 100 years just to break even, not including maintenance costs.

There is no doubt in my mind the Chinese will build the bridge and when the government cannot pay they will resort to acquisition of Guyana’s vast hinterland resources. Guyana’s population will be relegated to live on the low-lying coastlands subject to flooding and breaches in the sea defences. The sea defences are in a awful situation at the moment.

In my opinion we should have maintained the  ferry service for both Demerara and Berbice Rivers. You cannot revert to this now since both rivers are silted up.

The Chinese are very active in Guyana and Suriname because of the vast resources of both of these countries. They are not active in the West Indian islands since these have nothing to offer but sand and exotic beaches.

I would appreciate other writers’ views on this subject.

 Yours faithfully,

M Alli

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