Demolition of San Jose-Kumaka bridge almost completed

The skeletal remains of the San Jose Bridge on Monday afternoon. (Antonio Torres photo)

The demolition of the deteriorating San Jose-Kumaka Bridge, in Moruca, Region One, is almost complete, ahead of slated works for the construction of a new one.

Last month, Stabroek News had reported on the concerns of residents of Santa Rosa and surrounding communities regarding the delay in the commencement of works due to their concerns about the deteriorating bridge.

Subsequent to this, Hinterland Engineer Jeffrey Walcott, in an interview with the Department of Public Information (DPI), said that efforts to establish an alternative crossing for residents who utilise the San Jose Bridge would be made in the following week.

The dilapidated San Jose Bridge before demolition began. (Antonio Torres photo)

Walcott, according to DPI, explained that the actual dismantling of the wooden structure was awaiting the acquisition of all major items to minimise the construction time. “There are difficulties in securing and moving extremely long piles, hence the ministry is pursuing an option which will allow for the use of more common lengths. The ministry is also incorporating longer span beams, which will allow for piles being driven less frequently in the channel so that it can remain open to river traffic. However, full-length steel beams do require some time for procurement since the sizes required must generally be imported,” he was quoted as saying. Reports received from the region on Monday indicated that the demolition, which began late last week, was almost complete.

Walcott also expressed his appreciation to the Village Council for ensuring that all nearby shops were relocated “for the smooth and uninterrupted flow of work.”

Meanwhile, Head of the Work Services Group of the Ministry of Public Infrastructure Geoffrey Vaughn told Stabroek News that boat shuttles and a catwalk have already been established as alternatives for the hundreds of residents who used the bridge. This was confirmed by Toshao of Santa Rosa Whanita Philips.

As previously reported by this newspaper, a $119 million contract was awarded to Mohamed Ramzan Ali Khan Construction to build a “proper” bridge at the location.

DPI has reported that a geotechnical investigation for the new bridge was said to have been completed last July. Its objective was to ensure the delivery of a functional and resilient bridge that will better serve the community.

“The ministry has deployed a full-time engineer in the Region, as well as a support team from its Head Office and is committed to working with the Region, Toshao and Village Council to ensure quality work is done and the community gets value for money. A consultant was also engaged to provide sufficient technical support and supervision services during critical aspects of the work,” the DPI further said.

This newspaper had also reported claims made by Village Councillor Sharon Atkinson that residents are being left in the dark since the bill of quantities requested by the village council is yet to be seen. She would have also sought to highlight what was described as a “skeletal print,” which was shown to the council being passed off as the bridge design.

However, Walcott told DPI that the community has been engaged on two occasions, before disclosing that a third engagement is scheduled for some time in the week that followed.

Walcott also disclosed that standard design drawings were provided to the Assistant Regional Executive Officer, Renita Williams, Phillips and the Village Council, while a bill of quantities was subsequently provided to the former.

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