Hope Canal Bridge… as remedial works cost Govt $37.3MRepairs on the $350 million Hope Canal Bridge will cost the Government $37.3 million; a sum which critics are saying is way too high but Chief Works Officer at the Public Infrastructure Ministry, Geoffrey Vaughn, said the work would require heavy solid casting since the bridge should be a sturdy construction.Vaughn stated that tenders were submitted and the relevant body is currently accessing theses to determine if the tenders will be awarded. When questioned on why the engineer estimated that price, he said there are talks that the construction of an entire nursery school costs less than repairing the bridge, “but what they are not seeing is that it would take hollow blocks to build a nursery school while the construction of a sturdy bridge would require much solid casting.” “It means more cement, more steels. It means more everything,” he said. The defective bridge has being posing a threat to those traversing, with commuters fearful that it will collapse. However, road users can breathe a sigh of relief because bids were opened last Tuesday at the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board (NPTAB) for its rehabilitation. The Public Infrastructure Minister had stated that the Ministry was considering seeking funding for its repairs in the 2017 Budget but the Finance Ministry insisted that the rehabilitation is a matter of urgency.Therefore, Patterson had indicated that they have “made a case to re-programme some of our funds to make this a priority”. Three companies have since submitted bids for the bridge project – KP Thomas and Sons Contracting Incorporated, BK International Incorporated and HNauth and Sons. The bridge, commissioned in 2014 by former President Donald Ramotar, was contracted to the tune of $349.6 million to DIPCON Engineering Company. It was highlighted that the company had voiced their concerns to the previous Administration about the design of the bridge but those reservations were ignored by the previous Board of Directors of the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority. Recently, Patterson said a team led by Minister within the Public Infrastructure Ministry, Annette Furguson, carried out an extensive report on the bridge and a decision was made to have the remedial works go to tender. The bridge, which is one of three modules of the US$15 million Hope Canal Project, is 74.4 metres in length with a 47-metre sloped advance on both sides.