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Demerara Harbour Bridge collapses

Eyewitnesses said passengers in a minibus had to jump out for their lives and the driver had to quickly maneuver his way up when a section of the Demerara Harbour Bridge collapsed this morning and submerged in the river. No one was hurt.

The incident occurred just as traffic was picking up along the bridge moments before the usual early morning rush hour. From all appearances one of the pontoons used to keep the bridge afloat broke into two causing that section of the bridge to go under. As this phone video obtained from a resident in the area shows, water came rushing over and security was forced to shut the gate leading to the bridge at both ends as persons were still trying to see what was taking place.

With the operations of the bridge grinding to a halt, it was traffic chaos at both ends as motorists were forced to turn back. Persons were forced to park their vehicles and make use of the speed boats. That operation went well as the harbor master kept his eyes on the river taxis and directed them. Persons on the west bank who were heading to the airport had no choice but to use the boats to get over to Georgetown then hire a car to catch their flights.

Back to the bridge, workmen moved in quickly and used another pontoon to support the structure. Eventually they were able to stabilize it as the damaged pontoon laid close by. Over the weekend works were carried out to several sections of the bridge. It’s unclear what exactly those were related to.

Minister of Works Robeson Benn tried to explain exactly what took place and the response.

Today’s damage to the Demerara Harbour Bridge and its subsequent closure has raised new concerns about the fact when the bridge goes bad, vehicles cannot access either side of the river. Though there’s a stelling at Vree-Den-Hoop and one over on this side at Stabroek, both stellings are in dire need of repair and ferries have not traversed between them in years.

Two ferries that were recently brought in by the government for the Essequibo area are anchored out in the Demerara river. They have never been used and may have never been considered for use between the west and east banks of the Demerara River just behind the Stabroek Market area. Today trucks bringing produce to the city were forced to transfer the produce to speedboats to get them over to this side. Persons had to also use speedboats to get their motorcycles across.

Workmen are said to be working around the clock to repair the damages and get the bridge back into operation.

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