Price disagreement puts China Railway Construction in line for Demerara Harbour bridge

The 44-year-old Demerara Harbour Bridge was originally intended to last 10 years (Dan Lundberg/CC BY-SA 2.0)
Plans to replace a floating bridge in the Guyanese capital of Georgetown have resumed after a proposal from China State Construction Engineering Corporation (CSCEC) was deemed too costly, a Guyanese government minister said.

This means a consortium made up of three subsidiaries of the China Railway Construction Corporation is now in pole position to build the Demerara Harbour bridge. These are China Railway Construction Corporation (International), China Railway Construction (Caribbean) and China Railway Construction Bridge Engineering Bureau Group.

Juan Edghill, Guyana’s minister of public works, said yesterday that CSCEC had proposed to construct the bridge at a price of $257m, but this was “too high”, News Room Guyana reports.

He commented: “You have to look at the term sheet, the overall and that was what was kind of problematic.” He added that the government was hopeful of concluding a new deal before the end of February.

The new bridge will be a 50m-high, four-lane road span, and the government wants it to be delivered within two years of the contract signing.

It will replace a 44-year-old floating bridge (pictured) that was meant to be used for only 10 years, and which hampers navigation in the harbour.

Plans for a fixed link were announced in December 2015, and tenders were received from 23 international and local companies. However, these were superseded in August 2017 when a scheme to build a bridge 2km north of the existing link was put forward.

This was then dropped in favour of a crossing 6km south of the river mouth, at the same location as the floating bridge. This will connect the Georgetown districts of Nandy Park and Meer Zorgen. Nine companies were in contention for this, including Ballast Nedam, Boskalis, Eiffage, Odebrecht and four Chinese teams.

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