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Friday, May 19, 2006

Berbice Bridge contract signed
By Neil Marks


THE Berbice Bridge contract has been signed and a floating bridge across the river should be ready by the end of 2007, fulfilling an elections promise made by the ruling People’s Progressive Party/Civic when it took office in 1992.

The Berbice Bridge Company Incorporated (BBCI) announced yesterday it had signed an agreement with the selected contractor Rexroth Bosch/Mabey Johnson, a consortium of two European firms, to design and construct the bridge.

The contract sum was not announced, but in an advertisement in last Sunday’s Chronicle, BBCI put the project cost of US$38M. Investors in the Berbice Bridge are the Beharry Group of Companies, the Hand-in-Hand and Clico insurance companies, and the National Insurance Scheme.

The projected execution of the project is 18 months, and when completed, would mark the end of decades-long difficulties and inconvenience in crossing the Berbice River by ferry.

The bridge is to be built at a site just north of Rosignol, from D’Edward Village on the west to Crab Island on the east.

The consortium has already conducted several investigations of the site and has consulted with the Works Services Group of the Ministry of Public Works.

The 1.55 km long bridge will float on approximately 39 pontoons and will be anchored into the heavy sediment of the riverbed by a sophisticated off-shore tested anchorage system.

The high span of the bridge is 12m high and 40m wide to provide limited clearance for barge transportation, and a retractable gap of 70m will enable sea going vessels to pass through.

The deck superstructure of the bridge will be built with the Compact 200 panel bridge system, the most modern steel panel bridge technology in the world.

The system provides enhanced quality, strength, safety and durability with the surface of the bridge deck protected by a revolutionary and highly durable anti-skid layer.

The bridge will be put together in sections, with the side panel prepared and shipped by pontoon to the worksite.

Rexroth Bosch/Mabey Johnson was selected from a shortlist of three international firms who submitted technical and financial bids in response to the issue of tender documents in August 2005.

Rexroth Bosch, a US$43 billion dollar company based in Holland, with its headquarters in Germany, is the leading technology group in systems and engineering with operations in 18 lines of business worldwide. One of the company’s agents was involved in the rehabilitation of the retractor span on the Demerara Harbour Bridge.

The Mabey Group of Companies is a major British engineering organisation specialising in bridging, steel fabrication and construction products. The group is the world leader in the design, manufacture and supply of pre-fabricated modular steel panel bridges. These bridge systems are used worldwide for a variety of purposes.

Mabey and Johnson hold the exclusive and perpetual licences over the intellectual property rights of the company that built the Demerara Harbour Bridge.

Guyana Chronicle
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