The Suriname Police Force (KPS) will exercise stricter controls on both ends of the Jules Wijdenbosch Bridge. This includes checking the heavy equipment that uses the river crossing on a daily basis. The measure went into effect on Tuesday, December 28.
The Monitoring Vehicle Service (MSD) and the Komiijin Police 1X24 will be available for supervision. Heavy loaded trucks will only be allowed during the lockdown period i.e. from 11pm to 5am. A valid exemption certificate must also be submitted to the police. The Covid-19 management team is ready to grant exemption to drivers.
Chief Inspector Rachel Dickman notes that traffic gets busier this time of year, hence the need for this measure. However, the authorities are also aware that products must be delivered on the other side of the bridge. Thus, the police, which is responsible for enforcement, will operate flexibly. However, this does not mean that truck drivers are allowed to cross the bridge.
Inspector Dickman cites as an example that when a bread supplier has to go to the other side, the police will check whether the density of traffic in the relevant direction of travel allows it. The police officer emphasizes that this degree of flexibility is explicitly related to the period of the year, when many births take place.
It adds that it is not possible to set a time in advance when suppliers can cross the bridge. Chief Inspector Dickman notes that the connection across the river has a high traffic density throughout the day. For safety reasons, it was decided to allow heavy equipment that could pose a danger during the night. This decision was also communicated to the rest of the police force.
“Under the heavy equipment we can put heavy vehicles, transport vehicles or trucks. But you also have equipment such as excavators and vehicles with large cranes,” explains Henk Wip, policy advisor at the Department of Public Works. Heavy Equipment is a collective term for all heavy vehicles. “The focus here is not so much on the weight of the 12 tons, but on the axle load. 12 tons here refers to the axle load, but not to the load of the vehicle,” the OW official adds.
He said the goal is to ensure safety, especially after the recent accident in which a heavily loaded truck skidded its brakes off the bridge and crashed into a number of other vehicles. One person was killed and several others were injured in this accident. So Wip control is of great importance. Vehicle owners invite to get their documents in order, as the documents will be checked by the police.
Chief Inspector Dickman stated that safety remains a top priority. In the meantime, the working group that has to look into traffic problems around the Wijdenbosch bridge is still in a meeting with interest groups. They will be informed as much as possible through the moments of consultation. “Their sentiments will be taken into account to come up with appropriate measures so that we can all use the bridge in a safer way,” the police officer said. It says checks will be conducted until further measures are taken.