PM inspects works, says...
US$44M bridge, road projects will propel growth, prosperity
By Clifford Stanley
Guyana Chronicle
September 4, 2003

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Prime Minister Sam Hinds and other officials look on at construction work at the Mahaica railway bridge road.

PRIME Minister Samuel Hinds toured rehabilitation projects for the Mahaica/Rosignol road and for bridges between Mahaica and Rosignol on Tuesday, saying the multi-million dollar infrastructure projects will help propel Guyana's forward movement toward modernisation, growth and prosperity.

The Prime Minister also expressed satisfaction that Guyanese involved in the projects would benefit from the knowledge they are acquiring as a result of their exposure to the qualitatively higher level of operations at the sites being executed by international construction firms.

"I think it is serious earnest work going on. I have seen a great deal of application and steadfastness at work and I think that these are important things for Guyanese individuals and companies to get a feeling of, to know what standards are and to aim to do even better," Mr. Hinds said.

Mr. Hinds also expressed satisfaction about efforts, which are being made to preserve the old railway bridges across the Mahaica and Mahaicony rivers despite their being in the path of the new improvements.

Manager of the Bridges Project Mr. Uwe Greisbach of the German Firm DYWIDAG said the two bridges will be moved onto concrete bases to the side of the new bridges which will run parallel to them but slightly higher and be left intact.

Prime Minister Hinds said, "I agree that these historic bridges be left intact so that generations to come can look at them and see what some early construction features looked like."

The bridges, which supported the railway lines across the Mahaica and Mahaicony Rivers, were constructed in 1896 - some 107 years ago.

Mr. Hinds, accompanied by a large entourage of engineers and consultants, began his visit to the project sites from the bridge site across Mahaica River around 10:00 hrs.

The US$22M bridges project, which will see the upgrading of 27 pre-stressed concrete bridges and 38 culverts, is being executed by the German Firm DYWIDAG.

The upgraded bridges and culverts are expected to remain serviceable for at least 80 years.

The Mahaica Rosignol Road Rehabilitation Project, which will lead to the upgrading of the 66km stretch between the Mahaica Bridge and Rosignol, is also being executed at a cost of US$22M, by DIPCON Engineering Services.

Apart from the DYWIDAG Project Manager, the entourage included Mr. Walter Willis, Technical Adviser to the Ministry of Public Works, Mr. Rickford Lowe, Co-coordinator for the Works Services Group (WSG) of the Ministry which oversees both the road rehabilitation and bridge rehab projects, Mr. A. Mandal, Team Leader of SNC Lavalin Supervising Consultants for the road project and Mr. Latchman Bhagwandas, Project Engineer for DIPCON Engineering Services Limited.

Mr. Hinds inspected sections of the roadway under construction.

He also inspected bridges and culverts along the Mahaica Rosignol Highway, stopping at each one and requesting and receiving information on progress of the work.

The sites visited included the major bridges at Mahaicony, Belladrum and Number 28 and the DYWIDAG site at Onverwagt south of the Mahaica Mahaicony Abary/Agriculture Development Authority (MMA/ADA) Head Office where prefabricated materials are manufactured.

During the tour of the prefabricating site, the Prime Minister and others were shown a massive concrete structure weighing 60 tons, which would be used as one of two supports for the new bridge across the Mahaicony River.

Project Manager Greisbach reported that DYWIDAG was ahead of its schedule for completion of bridges but was slightly behind on schedule for work on pre-stressed concrete culverts.

He said that the work on culverts had proven to be more complex than anticipated.

He said that DYWIDAG had also experienced delays occasioned by having to start from zero in an environment with limited infrastructure for getting the job done.

Also delays caused by inexperience of some local sub-contractors who he said may have been accustomed to working with local people on small projects but had been sometimes slow in picking up the momentum needed for work with a big international company.

The old railway bridge across the Mahaicony River will be shifted to one side using a roller bearing mechanism later this week to make way for the new bridge.

Work on the new Mahaica River Bridge is awaiting completion of the access road to the bridge, which is currently being done by DIPCON.

Mr. Greisbach disclosed that the bridge at Belladrum will be the first to be completed.

He remained optimistic that DYWIDAG would be able to complete the US$22M work by the end of the contract period in October next year.

SNC Lavalin, consultants for the Road Rehabilitation Project disclosed that among other improvements, the existing pavements along the 66 km stretch from Mahaica to Rosignol will be widened to enhance safety of pedestrians.

DIPCON will also extend existing culverts and install poles for road lighting.

The consultants disclosed that work on the road project, which started on June 5, last is to date 16 per cent complete with a 100 per cent completion scheduled for December 5, 2004.

Hinds also stopped and chatted with several persons during the course of his visit to the projects in Region 5.

Accompanied by the engineers and consultants, he walked the half-mile stretch of the muddy embankment at the same time discussing with these experts, the feasibility of upgrading it into another access road to the Ferry.

On the question of the old railway bridges at Mahaica and Mahaicony, he said "I think in time, the question may be raised about some money being available to clean them up to protect them and develop some sort of history around them.