Location: Eastern & Western Banks of Demerara
Classification: Civil Infrastructure
Period/ Year Built: 1978
Historical Background / Description:
The Demerara Harbour Bridge connects West Demerara from Versailles and East Demerara from Peter’s Hall. It was built across the Demerara River at one of the river’s widest points. The bridge is the third built structure to span the Demerara River. Hope and Mackenzie-Wismar Bridges, both in Region ten, were the first and second to do so respectively. However, the Demerara Harbour Bridge is the only floating bridge to span the Demerara River. The first substantial step in bridging the Demerara River near Georgetown occurred on May 23, 1952, when the Legislative Council by a majority of 12 votes to 9, approved a motion introduced by Honourable Captain J.P Coglan. Construction of the Demerara Harbour Bridge started in 1976.
Completed a week before its ceremonial opening, the structure was declared opened on July 2,1978, by Prime Minister Linden Forbes Sampson Burnham. The estimated cost of the bridge ranged between $4 million to $10 million, but once completed the structure cost the government approximately $40 million.
The 1.85 kilometres (6,078 feet) long bridge consists of 61 spans of floats of varied lengths on 122 steel pontoons making it the fifth longest floating bridge in the world as of 2016. It was built using approximately 80,000 tons of steel that was soldered and moulded together by mostly Guyanese labour. Once completed it was believed that the structure would have a life span of just 10 years, but as of 2017, the Demerara Harbour Bridge is 38 years old.