Minister of Public Infra-structure David Patterson on Thursday said that the rehabilitation of the Bagotville Bridge will take three months to be completed.
Patterson made the disclosure during the Committee of Supply’s consideration of the request for an additional $520 million in capital expenditure for his ministry under Financial Paper No. 2, which sought supplementary provisions totalling $2,514,679,330 on the current and capital estimates for the period January to December, 2017.
The ministry, which was allocated $34.6 billion in this year’s $250 billion National Budget, received $6 billion in supplemental financing a month ago.
In its latest requests, the ministry sought an additional $120M under its bridges programme for reconstruction and critical rehabilitation works for the Bagotville Bridge, on the West Bank of Demerara, which had started to sink.
This will comprise preparatory works for a bypass road through La Parfaite Harmonie at the cost of $30.2 million, substructure at the cost of $43.9 million, superstructure at the cost of $39 million and miscellaneous works at the cost of $6.9 million.
Patterson explained that the in addition to the bypass road, remedial works to fix potholes and depressions on the La Parfaite Harmonie road will be done, since it will be facilitating increased traffic due to the bridge being under construction.
When questioned why the ministry didn’t consider repairing half of the bridge, while using another half for traffic, which has been done in many other cases, Patterson cited time, while noting that it is the ministry’s intention to finish the bridge, which would be modified into a steel structure, within three months.
Additionally, under the ministry’s river and sea defence work programme, $300 million was requested for the design, construction, and supervision of 600 meters and 200 meters of sea defence along critical sections of the coastline a Rotterdam-Ruimzigt, West Coast Demerara, and at Cottage, Mahaicony, respectively. It was said that the works are aimed at promoting climate change resilience through the improvement of flood protection infrastructure along vulnerable low-lying coastal areas.
The schedule for the request noted too that the mangroves at the Rotterdam-Ruimzigt area have degraded and there is an imminent threat of a breach of the embankment. At Cottage, it added, there is a “total” loss of the mangrove forest, which results in regular overtopping. As a result, salt water often infiltrates the drainage system and affects farmlands.
The ministry also requested $100 million for rehabilitation works for the MV Sandaka and the MV Lady Northcote. It was explained by Minister within the Ministry of Public Infrastructure Annette Ferguson that the works for the MV Sandaka was $291 million, almost triple the $100 million that was budgeted for this year for the works. She said that MARAD and MV Canawaima were able to offset the difference by $91 million and therefore there was a shortfall of $100 million that needed to be met.
The request was approved without challenge by the Committee of Supply.