A new bailey bridge, constructed by the National Works Agency (NWA) at a cost of $23.3 million, was officially opened on Wednesday morning in Dover Castle, St. Catherine.
The single lane bridge replaces a structure, which collapsed some two years ago during flood rains associated with the passage of Tropical Storm Nicole.
It serves the communities of Dover Castle, Redwood, Jubilee Town, Golden Grove, Guys Hill, and adjoining areas.
Speaking to JIS News during the official opening, Minister of State in the Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing, Hon. Richard Azan, said the project, which got underway in January, was completed within schedule and budget.
He said the works included the construction of gabion baskets, bridge abutments, a rubble retaining wall, and approach roads.
The State Minister urged operators of heavy duty vehicles to use alternative routes at John’s Pen and Berkshire Hall, as the structure has a carrying capacity of only 50 tonnes.
Communications Manager at the NWA, Stephen Shaw, said warning signs will be erected before the end of the month.
“Being a 50-tonne structure, we don’t expect to see a trailer going across this bridge because it is not built to accommodate those types of units,” he told JIS News.
Mr. Shaw urged residents to assist in keeping the structure in place and to ensure that it is not compromised by misuse.
Member of Parliament for North East St. Catherine, Gregory Mair, commended the Government for undertaking the project.
Residents of Redwood, Devon Morris and Mary Foster, expressed gratitude for the new bridge, noting that it will now be easier for residents to get in and out of the area. The collapse of the structure resulted in motorists having to drive through an orange grove to get to the communities of Redwood and Guys Hill.
Other works under the project included: river training works 50 metres upstream and 50 metres downstream; realignment of the roadway; and the raising and re-paving of the roadway with asphaltic concrete.
The contractor for the project was Aegisco Limited.
By Chris Patterson, JIS Reporter