No official documents on this project can be accessed on the relevant agencies' websites – Stabroek News

Log in for full access to stabroeknews.com. You can also post comments, and manage your email subscription.
Lost your password?
Only one active session is allowed per subscriber.
You don’t have an account? Sign Up
Dear Editor,
Thank you for providing me the space to address the issue of the proposed new Demerara Harbour Bridge. In 1976 when construction of the current Demerara Harbour Bridge began, the formal process of assessing environmental impacts of large scale construction was in the initial stages of development in the United States. In the years since there has been formalization of this very important process and adoption by other countries including Guyana. The DHB’s lifespan has been extended time and again although it was originally built to last only 10 years. While the time has come for the old bridge to be replaced after numerous maintenance mishaps, it would be prudent to ensure all aspects of construction be meticulously considered. In December 2020 it was published in the media that an Environmental Impact Assessment would be undertaken. It was surprising to learn via Stabroek News last week that an EIA is now deemed unnecessary by the EPA.
An EIA primarily assesses the environmental impacts of construction but also takes into account social and economic impacts as well as lists viable alternatives and a no alternative option.  Given the scale of this project and the traffic nightmare that has been occurring on and off the bridge, a proper plan for congestion mitigation that considers all of these factors needs to be vetted and shared with the public in an EIA. An alternative option such as a ferry service should also be included.  The proposed cost and schedule of the main and alternative options are also typically quantified in the EIA. The technology exists to have electronic tolling that does away with the delays of having a manned tolled booth by providing a reader card or pass in a move towards a cashless society. Has that been included in the proposal?  Are we catering for future traffic growth?  For pedestrian or bicycle traffic separate from vehicular traffic?  Have traffic simulation models been run to test different scenarios? 
The current bridge extends from Peter’s Hall to Schoonord.  The proposed bridge is said to cross the river from Nandy Park to LaGrange, a shorter span but the landing will impact different communities. Letters of comments were invited from the communities but typically the management of the project would schedule face to face meetings with the communities that would be affected to apprise them of plans and receive their oral (and possibly written) input.  Was this done?  I couldn’t find any evidence of this.  I can access no official documents on this project on either the EPA’s website which seems to be down or on the Ministry of Works website at the time of this writing. There seems to be a rush to get a few major projects started but if we don’t prepare by doing our due diligence and including proper protective/punitive clauses in our contracts (not just those based on timeline) we will again be shortchanged by the foreign bidders/ contractors.
Sincerely,
R. Singh
A FREE roundup of top news from Guyana you might otherwise miss. Delivered every morning.

source

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *