….to be completed within two years
by Vanessa Braithwaite
That US $35 M four-lane Mackenzie/ Wismar bridge can be deemed a significant developmental milestone for residents of Linden and by extension Region 10, given the multitude of economic opportunities it will open for the town, in addition to improving the daily lives of commuters. This was on Friday, highlighted at a ceremonial signing of the agreement for its construction between the Government of Guyana and the construction company China Construction Railway Construction Limited. The four lane bridge will be precast and will be 220 meters long, will carry all the road safety signs, lighting and have a 32 meters horizontal clearage and 11.5 meters vertical clearage. It will be constructed in the vicinity of West Watooka, Wismar.
President Dr. Irfaan Ali highlighted in his feature address that the construction of the bridge is not a stand-alone infrastructure but is linked to the many other infrastructural projects bridging Georgetown to Brazil. “This bridge is not a stand-alone infrastructure….this bridge is linked to the 45 bridges along the Linden to Lethem Highway that will create immense opportunities in positioning Region 10 as the engineering and mechanical hub and transport and logistics hub not only for mining, but also for the trade that will exist between Brazil and Guyana,” the President said.
He took the opportunity to highlight the many other infrastructural and sectoral development that his administration spearheaded in Region 10, since 2020. One of these project, which the new bridge will have a direct impact on, is the Linden to Lethem thoroughfare, which is under construction. Under the previous administration, a feasibility study was completed for the construction of a two-lane bridge to the tune of US $30 M USD, however there is a greater need for a wider bridge particularly with the more than 50 percent increase in traffic traversing daily. This he said is as a result of careful planning and decisive making by his government to fulfill the needs of the people.
Similar sentiments were echoed by Minister of Public Works Juan Edghill, who said the construction of the bridge is a fulfillment of a social contract to the people. The bridge he said will link the deep-water harbour out of Berbice, linking road networks on the East Bank of Demerara and linking Georgetown to Lethem. “Since then, the accelerated work for the completion of the thoroughfare that could move you seamlessly from Georgetown into Brazil is at work.” Since the start of the construction of the Linden to Lethem Road, traffic has significantly increased particularly with heavy duty trucks and axil vehicles, hence there was need for a new four-lane bridge.
The current single-lane bridge was constructed in 1966. Commuters have expressed the dire need for a new bridge given the long waiting time they are forced to endure particularly during peak traffic hours.
General Manager of China Construction Railway Construction Limited Dong Chong Lee, said the company is committed to work safely and comply with other local regulations and will ensure the project sees a successful fruition.
Present at the ceremony were also Minister within the Ministry of Public Works Deodat Indar, Chinese Ambassador to Guyana her Excellency Guo Haiyan, Regional Members of Parliament Devin Sears and Jermaine Figueira, Regional Chairman Deron Adams and other regional officials.