The Demerara Harbour Bridge will undergo critical maintenance within the next few days and commuters who cross the bridge are asked to take steps to deal with extended bridge closures.
General Manager of the Demerara Harbour Bridge Corporation (DHBC), Rawlston Adams during a press conference today told reporters that these closures are as a result of long overdue rehabilitation work, the Department of Public Information (DPI) said.
The bridge will be closed for seven hours on Saturday from 8.30 am. Adams said that one of the extra-large pontoons which is used to support the bridge has to be changed.
He said that two weeks ago the bridge was closed for six hours to accommodate the replacement of one of the pontoons under the retractor span on the western side. However, the “last of the extra-large pontoons under the retractor span on the eastern side which should have been changed over a year now, will be changed.”
According to the General Manager, tomorrow the engineers will remove the walkway, stairs, and platforms. Following this, on Thursday they will disconnect hinges, hydraulic pipes and install the temporary pontoons, and on Friday move the hydraulic hinges and pipes. On Saturday the switching of the pontoons will be completed.
Finally, on Sunday the system will be reconnected. There will be system checks on Monday and by Tuesday the bridge should return to normal retractions, DPI said.
“We’ve decided that we will do it one at a time and the method is to close the bridge to marine traffic, opened to vehicular traffic except for Saturday where we’ll be closing for a very lengthy period,” Adams stated.
Later in the year during the spring tide in the first week of November, DHBC will be changing one of the large pontoons. The Corporation has already replaced four of its five pontoons catered for in its 2017 work Programme, DPI said.
July 2018 will be the 40th anniversary of the Demerara Harbour Bridge.
Adams said that there continue to be challenges with some of the panels. “We’re seeing cracks and we’re doing work with them and we’re in discussion to change those panels next year which would mean that the bridge would have to be shut down for three days in the first quarter, but we’re discussing what would be done.”
The works on the bridge will be carried out at a cost of $102M, DPI said.