Berbice bridge building could start November
- 12 companies invited to bid

By Gitanjali Singh
Stabroek News
January 4, 2000

The Guyana Government has invited the 12 companies who have expressed interest in constructing a bridge across the Berbice River to submit proposals no later than February 3, 2000.

The 12 companies were asked to provide proposals to cover the planning/design/construction/finance/operation and maintenance for a bridge across the Berbice River as well as the approach roads and ancillary facilities using a build, operate and transfer (BOT) mechanism.

Public Works Minister, Anthony Xavier, said the request for proposals was sent out a few days ago and the government hopes to set up a team to select the winning bid soon after bids are received. "I am hoping that if all goes well we will be able to have construction started by November," Xavier told Stabroek News on Thursday.

The 12 companies were provided with a list of 18 specifications which had to be met in making their proposals and Xavier confirmed that it is the government's intention to have the bridge constructed immediately upstream of Everton.

Among the specifications, the bridge has to be 11 feet wide to provide for two traffic lanes, with two shoulders three feet wide and one sidewalk six feet wide.

The bridge is to have a main span over the navigation channel with a minimum vertical clearance of 85 feet above mean high water level and a minimum horizontal clearance of 180 feet.

The piers supporting the main span of the bridge are to be protected from collision with vessels which pass under the bridge.

Approach roads are to connect the bridge to the West Coast Berbice in the vicinity of Rosignol and the East Bank Berbice road. These are to be paved roads providing for two traffic lanes 11 feet wide, two paved shoulders six feet wide and two clay shoulders two feet wide. The roads are to have appropriate traffic control devices such as pavement marks and signs made with retro reflective material.

Toll plazas, bridge administration offices including accommodation for police and weighbridges are to be located on the bridge approaches. The bridge, approach roads near the bridge and ancillary facilities are to have adequate lighting and a back-up power supply.

The construction of the bridge, the approach roads and ancillary facilities shall be started on site not later than November 1, 2000 and shall be completed not later than October 31, 2002.

Potential investors would be required to draw up a preliminary design of the bridge, approach road and ancillary facilities and to provide a bar chart showing the timetable in the planning, design and construction of the bridge and other facilities.

An environmental permit would be needed for the construction of the bridge.

A preliminary statement about the financing of the entire project is needed as well as the legal status and structure of the organisation which will initially own the facilities.

The 12 firms interested in bridging the Berbice River include Reed & Reed Inc in conjunction with the United States Fidelity & Guaranty Company and KeyBank National Association and Ballast Needam International of the Netherlands. (The latter had made a proposal to the government to construct the bridge with government funding. However, Xavier indicated that this is not an option as this time the government was considering a BOT approach).

Hafeez Karamat Construction Limited along with Republic Finance/Merchant Bank and Sir William Halcrow & Partners Limited have also come together and are keen to do the project. So is the firm which constructed the Demerara Harbour Bridge, Acrow Corporation of America.

Another consortium which has expressed interest is the GLF Construction Corporation/Figg Engineering Group (which did a feasibility report on the Berbice River crossing)/Durham Engineers Inc/Trow Consulting Engineers Ltd/E&A Consultants/Vollmer Associates outfit.

UWP Engineers (Pty) Ltd of South Africa, Dr Satya Reddy/Sais N. Tiwary/Groupe Bouygues Construction & Bouygues Travaux Public of Trinidad, Marathon Builders Inc of USA, NOFRAYNE which is a part of a big French company and Rizzani De Eccher USA Inc, said to be another big construction firm, have all expressed interest in bridging the river.

Two local companies, Action Engineering Services Inc and the Guyana National Industrial Company Inc have also expressed interest.

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Guyana: Land of Six Peoples