An “underwater tunnel” may revolutionise Guyana’s infrastructure

An “underwater tunnel” may revolutionise Guyana’s infrastructure

Dear Editor,
The PPP/C Government has indicated that it would move the location of the proposed new Demerara River crossing, as the current Houston location has seen increased shore-based oil & gas activities that may pose possible traffic congestion for commuters in the future.
Understanding that the new Harbour Bridge is a priority for the Irfaan Ali-led Administration, and as Public Works Minister Juan Edghill said recently, “Whatever is the final design, it will be what is best for the Guyanese people… We are looking at all options, and that might mean getting additional advice. You can’t have a bridge that encumbers other aspects of development.”

An underwater tunnel may revolutionise Guyana’s infrastructure. Even though underwater tunnels seem fantastical and futuristic, they have existed since 1843. since then, more underwater tunnels have opened in and between the world’s wealthy cities, from Hong Kong’s Cross Harbour Tunnel to the Channel between England and France.

Port cities like San Francisco and New York City build subsea tunnels to allow subways and vehicles to speed underwater while ships continue to sail overhead without the potential obstructions caused by bridges. As the world continues to speed up, submarine travel facilitates the ceaseless movement of people, goods and capital.

In their fuelling of constant connectivity, underwater tunnels seem like sensible infrastructure to build in the Guyana non-stop metropolises. The association between tunnels and speed is, however, one reason why the emergence of a dense network of subsea and onshore tunnels gives us the perfect opportunity here to create the best sustainable solutions for Guyana’s future infrstructure.

The advantage of having a tunnel is that it’s open 24 hours a day. There’s no waiting for the ships to pass, there’s more mobility; it’s getting more dynamic. The construction of Guyana’s first subsea tunnel would open an opportunity to participate in the development of Guyana’s Deepwater port facility in the Demerara River to service the emerging offshore oil and gas sector.

The Government of Guyana and the Minister of Public Works must have a clear idea and understanding of the site for the deep-water port. However, with the construction of a tunnel across the Demerara River, our options increase and we better understand what is required to make the Guyana-Brazil land transport link a reality.

As Guyana looks towards the future with oil and gas, the Guyana-Brazil land transportation link, hundreds of ships and vessels will be passing through the busiest water stretch of the Demerara River. This means it is simply not feasible to build a bridge with the guaranteed clearance for every ship, so going low may be the best option. Building underwater tunnel, the materialisation of a project of this magnitude, will change the entire economic landscape of Guyana.

David Adams

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