Harbour bridge reopens
Full capacity expected today

Stabroek News
October 27, 2002

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The Demerara Harbour Bridge was yesterday morning opened to vehicles under three tonnes as repairs continued to the high span damaged by a barge on Friday morning.

Vehicles up to three tonnes were from 11:10 am yesterday being allowed to cross following completion of most of the repairs although the structure was not expected to be back to full capacity until today.

Repairs were still proceeding on the damaged stanchion, Public Relations Consultant, Ministry of Public Works, Ajay Baksh said. But he added that the bridge was sturdy enough to accommodate the load.

And some trucks parked in the access road to the bridge were being allowed to cross to allow engineers to test the impact of their work.

Baksh said personnel from the bridge had worked through the night to get the structure reopened as soon as possible. He said personnel would need another 4-5 hrs to complete strengthening the damaged area.

The pontoon with the damaged stanchion was loosened, sunk and re-floated and another put in its place. The damaged component will be stripped to see which of its sections could be salvaged.

The bridge suffered damage around 6:45 am on Friday when a barge loaded with logs being pushed by a tug, slammed into a pontoon in the region of the high span shifting and twisting some stanchions.

The tug and barge owned by Barama Company Limited was at the time attempting to manoeuvre its way under the high span.

Meanwhile, an investigating team is likely to be named tomorrow by Minister of Transport and Hydraulics Anthony Xavier, Baksh said.

Among the recommendations the team is likely to be asked to consider is what plans could be put in place with regards to moving traffic across the river whenever such an event occurs.

The team is to be tasked with this responsibility due to concerns the minister has over the frequency of accidents to the bridge and the inconvenience it causes.

Several hundred vehicles and thousands of commuters were stranded on both banks of the river all day yesterday and last night.

Businesses especially those selling snacks did brisk business as some persons mostly truck owners waited for the reopening of the bridge.

A Transport and Harbours Department vessel had been put into operation to move people from both sides of the river. (Oscar P. Clarke)