By: Shemar Alleyne
Chairman of the Demerara Harbour Bridge Corporation (DHBC), Ravi Ramcharitar, on Sunday night, revealed that the Corporation is looking to ban trucks found persistently speeding on the floating structure.
He made this revelation on the sideline of emergency repair works on the Harbour Bridge – the main thoroughfare over the Demerara River.
The 44-year-old bridge was closed at 03:00h on Sunday for critical repairs following last October’s incident in which a Panama-registered fuel tanker slammed into the bridge, rendering it inoperable for several days. The bridge is scheduled to reopen at 03:00h on Monday.
The DHBC has since slapped the owner of the vessel, a Panamanian company, with an over $1 billion lawsuit after it refused to foot the bridge’s repair bill, which is over that sum and counting.
Speaking directly from a temporary pontoon, the Chairman said the bridge had taken a “severe pounding” after trucks were found to be speeding.
“We have recommended strict and harsh measures for such activities. So, you will see that heavy vehicles that are persistently speeding will be banned from traversing the bridge,” Ramcharitar posited.
On the other hand, Minister of Public Works Juan Edghill relayed that closures in the future are necessary as more repairs are needed.
“I joined the Chairman of the Board in appealing to all the truckers; I know you want to be able to maximise the amount of trips you make per day to deliver your sand or your stone. But if we continue to be reckless, sooner rather than later, we will have no bridge.”
Minister Edghill thanked the citizens for their patience during the closure.
Meanwhile, the General Manager of the Corporation, Wayne Watson, disclosed that 60 per cent of the work on the structure has been completed.
He also told reporters that this morning staff had encountered some issues, which had put the bridge behind the reopening schedule.
However, he noted that the Harbour Bridge staff teamed up with workers of Industrial Fabrications Inc. (InFab), and the bridge is now on schedule for reopening at 03:00h tomorrow.
To this end, Watson said they could not complete all the work planned due to issues encountered early this morning.