The Demerara Harbour Bridge has been reopened to light vehicular traffic, Minister of Public Works, Bishop Juan Edghill disclosed Monday evening as he inspected ongoing works on the aging structure.
He told journalists the bridge will only facilitate vehicles no more than 12 tonnes at this time.
“Based on what we have seen, the bridge is practically closed, which means that the two retractors are almost connected so that vehicles will be able to pass over,” he stated.
He said additional work is still needed on the bridge, but in the meantime sufficient repairs have been completed to facilitate light vehicular traffic. He said too that two pontoons will be needed for the additional repairs to the bridge.
He explained: “What we have right now are pumps that are being installed to keep the water out of the pontoons. So, we will have to go into emergency mode to procure two additional pontoons. We had one delivered yesterday and that was able to be installed.”
Minister Edghill lauded the tireless efforts of the engineers, dubbing the works “extraordinary”, given the extensive damage done to the bridge.
“Our Guyanese men and women have shown their capacity and I don’t think that after now anybody should ever speak an ill word or downgrade the capacity of Guyanese contractors, engineers, and fabricators.”
He also expressed gratitude to the water taxi operators, who answered the call and extended their services to 24 hours to accommodate commuters, and to the Private Sector Commission.
A Board of Inquiry was set up on Sunday to probe the incident.
“The Board of Inquiry has commenced their work, and they have seven days to give us a report to tell us what happened, provide recommendations, and also establish culpability if there is anyone culpable because we are not taking this lightly.”
This is some three days after the bridge was rendered inoperable following a collision with a vessel, the MV Tradewind Passion.
The Public Works Ministry reported on Saturday that a fuel tanker had crashed into the bridge, rendering it inoperable.
Engineers sprang into action immediately to repair the damaged structure, which facilitates thousands of Guyanese living in Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara).
A 24-hour river taxi service was set in place by the government to facilitate travel between Regions Three and Four.