Corentyne River bridge: Procurement process completed, joint team reviewing evaluation report – Min Edghill

The content originally appeared on: INews Guyana
Proposed Design for Corentyne River Bridge

Progress on the much-anticipated Corentyne River bridge is advancing, with the Joint Evaluation report that was signed by both Guyana and Suriname being reviewed by a team of Ministers from the two neighbouring countries.

This was revealed by Public Works Minister Juan Edghill during his Ministry’s end-of-year press briefing on Friday. He noted that the commencement of the works will be announced by President Dr Irfaan Ali and his Surinamese counterpart, Chandrikapersad Santokhi, after receiving the report from a joint team.

“The procurement process of the Corentyne River bridge has been completed. The signed Joint Evaluations of both countries are before a team – the two Ministers of Foreign Affairs, the two Ministers of Finance and the two Ministers of Public Works. And once that evaluation report would have been agreed and the way forward declared by that joint team, the two Presidents will then announce the start of the work on the Corentyne River bridge,” Edghill said.

In October 2023, two companies, the Dutch engineering company, Ballast Nedam and Chinese-owned China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) submitted proposals to build the bridge over the Corentyne River to link Guyana and Suriname.

Minister Edghill would not say whether or not a contractor was selected but subsequently told this publication that the evaluation report contains details about this.

“The evaluation report has spoken to that… It would not be the proper thing to say at this time since it’s before that inter-governmental team… We will determine the way forward with all of the other implications that go along with the building of the bridge,” the Public Works Minister stated.

Back in June, Surinamese Public Works Minister, Dr Riad Nurmohamed visited Guyana to discuss the designs, financial aspects, and legal framework between Suriname and Guyana in the context of the tendering procedure.

The bridge will be built according to the Design-Build-Finance-Operate-Maintain model (DBFOM).

This means that whichever company is contracted to build the bridge will be responsible for its design, construction, financing, operation, and maintenance. It will also be constructed via a Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement.

The bridge is one of the first agreements between President Irfaan Ali and Suriname’s President Chandrikapersad Santokhi, with both Heads previously underscoring the critical role the bridge across the Corentyne River would play in advancing cooperation, creating more opportunities for development for both countries.

Back in May of 2022, a US$2 million contract was signed in Paramaribo for several preliminary studies and research to be conducted on the Corentyne bridge by WSP Caribbean. The Expressions of Interest (EoIs) were also simultaneously launched.

In June this year, WSP Caribbean presented the design of the Corentyne River bridge to Ministers Edghill and Nurmohamed of a two-section structure that is connected via an island (Long Island) to link Guyana and Suriname. The design also features a two-lane bridge with accommodation for a third lane in case of an emergency.

It was noted that this presentation by the WSP technical team was made ahead of the final report, which will detail other aspects of their study such as cost of the bridge, traffic projections, design of the road, financial and economic evaluation and environmental assessment, among other key elements.

This information would have helped the pre-qualified bidders to prepare and submit their proposals.

Six international companies – five Chinese firms and one Dutch company from The Netherlands – had submitted bids for the construction of the Corentyne River bridge. The bids were opened at the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board (NPTAB) in Georgetown back in August 2023.

The high-span Corentyne River bridge will run approximately 3.1 kilometres, connecting Moleson Creek in Guyana to South Drain in Suriname with a landing on Long Island in the Corentyne River, where a commercial hub and tourist destination will be established. That free zone will see major infrastructural development such as hotels, recreational parks, entertainment spots, tourist attractions, malls, and farmers’ markets.

Running from Moleson Creek to Long Island, the bridge will be a low-level structure, approximately one kilometre long; with a 2200-metre (2.2 km) road across Long Island and a high bridge, spanning 2100 metres (2.1 km) thereafter.

At the high end of the bridge, which will facilitate marine traffic, it will cater for 40,000 to 45,000 DWT (deadweight tonnage) capacity featuring a vertical (height) clearance of 43 metres and a horizonal (width) clearance of about 100 metres.

Upon completion, the bridge will not only link the two neighbouring countries but also open up access to greater economic opportunities beyond them into French Guyana, and through the road network being developed into Brazil, and eventually further into South America.