September 29, 2016

Feasibility study yet to be conducted on location of new DHB

An aerial view of the Demerara Harbour Bridge

An aerial view of the Demerara Harbour Bridge

Government is yet to announce which company will be awarded the contract to conduct a feasibility study on the relocation of the Demerara Harbour Bridge.

A few months ago, companies both locally and international, had bid for the contract to conduct the study, as well as design and ultimately construct the new location for the Demerara Harbour Bridge.

However, on Wednesday, General Manager of the Demerara Harbour Bridge Company (DHBC), Rawlston Adams, revealed that the Public Infrastructure Ministry has already made the evaluations and recommendations for the consultancy.

“Those recommendations are with the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board (NPTAB), I think to forward to Cabinet. So soon, the Ministry of Public Infrastructure will be making some announcement through the Tender Board and the Cabinet as to when they will be awarding the consultancy for the feasibility study,” he stated.

Asked about the role the Harbour Bridge Company will play in the project, Adams explained that they are basically reviewing the process as it relates to the Terms of Reference and the evaluations. However, the DHBC General Manager pointed out that he was the engineer responsible for the Berbice Bridge and that feasibility study so his experience is now being used for this new project.

Further asked about the details of the new bridge, Adams noted that the feasibility study will determine how Government goes ahead in terms of the new bridge to link Regions Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara) and Four (Demerara-Mahaica).

“The feasibility study will identify all the issues and costs involved in building the new bridge. The study will guide us in which direction – do we build a new bridge? Do we keep this one? Do we have two and that’s why we do feasibility studies to identify all the issues and to have them address,” he stated.

The Demerara Harbour Bridge head went on to say that “people will have ideas as to how things will go but its best to wait on the consultants who are being paid to look at and have discussions with all the relevant parties and bring it all together and put it in a document that says we have studied, looked at it, we’ve talked to people and based on our experience, we have advice this is the way forward.”

Back in January, Chief Works Officer at the Public Infrastructure Ministry, Geoffrey Vaughn, had stated that the tenders were already evaluated and sent off to NPTAB for the shortlisting of qualified tenders,” the Chief Works Officer stated.

On December 8, 2015, NPTAB opened the bids from seven European and four Chinese companies who signalled their interests in the construction of the new bridge. Several other overseas companies partnered with local firms and also applied for the contract.

Floating at 1.25 miles, the Demerara Harbour Bridge is a strategic link between the East and West Bank of Demerara. It facilitates the daily movement of large numbers of vehicles, people, and cargo. The structure was built in the 1970s but was opened in July 1978 with the expectation of lasting only 10 years. However, some 37 years after, it is still floating.

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