Dutch firm to sign MOU on Berbice River Bridge

by Sharon Lall
Guyana Chronicle
September 20, 2000

THE government negotiating team and the Dutch bidder Ballast Nedam International will next week sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for the Berbice River Bridge, Public Works Minister, Mr Anthony Xavier announced yesterday.

The MOU will allow for the team to move to level two - the completion and development of the actual agreement for the construction of the concrete bridge which is expected to have a lifespan of 75 years.

Human Resources Manager of the Omai gold mining company, retired Major General, Mr Norman McLean heads the government negotiating team.

Other members are:

Mr Tarchand Balgobin, Head of the Project Cycle Unit, Ministry of Finance; Mr Winston Brassington, Head of the Privatisation Unit; Mr Ramdial Bhookmohan, President of the Berbice Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Dr Gobin Ganga, Research Director, Bank of Guyana; Mr Joe Holder, Project Manager and Mr George Jardim, President of the Private Sector Commission.

The MOU will be signed by Prime Minister Sam Hinds and officials of Ballast Nedam, Minister Xavier told reporters as he wrapped up an inspection of major roadworks in Berbice.

The Chronicle understands that the document should have been signed this week but because of travel problems with the foreign contractor the signing had to be deferred to next week.

If there are no hitches, the agreement for the key and much-anticipated project could be signed in mid-November this year, Xavier said.

Following the signing of the MOU, he said it will only be a matter of time before Ballast Nedam is given the commencement order for work to begin on the Berbice River Bridge.

The actual undertaking could start before the end of this year, according to the minister.

Ballast Nedam, a construction firm with headquarters in the Netherlands, was selected ahead of four other bidders to construct the bridge using a Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) approach, to the tune of $39.8M.

The company is associated in the project with David Klautky and Associates, Amazon Construction, B.K. International and Courtney Benn Construction Company.

The Berbice River Bridge will be sited upstream of the Everton Crossing, from the east at Standvastigheid and at Brothers from the west.

Some 10 kilometres of access roadway will be constructed at Orison and Standvastigheid to facilitate the bridge crossing which will reduce the travel time for people who want to do business on either side of the river.

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