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JIS News

State Minister in the Ministry of Housing, Transport, Water and Works, Dr. Fenton Ferguson, has said that construction of the 157-metre Yallahs Bridge in St. Thomas should begin early next year.
“We are now is at the stage where we have started the process of moving parts that have come in for (the project),” Dr. Ferguson said in an interview with JIS News.
“Some of the girders and other parts are on site in Yallahs and we are now in the final stages of signing off, giving the okay for Mabey & Johnson Limited (a company in the United Kingdom) to proceed with the construction phase and this will be done very early in the first quarter of the New Year,” he noted further.
The Minister said that the overall cost of the bridge was close to a billion dollars and every effort would be made to complete the project, since it “provides a vital link to a parish which is on the verge of major developments”.
Addressing concerns about the length of time being taken to start the project, Dr. Ferguson pointed out that the building of a bridge was not an easy task to undertake.
“You have to take into consideration the design period, which entails some significant hydraulic and geo-technical tests to see which pile is best to be used, the cost to build as well as the outcome of a National Contracts Committee probe,” he noted.
Dr. Ferguson said that the government was not considering implementing a toll charge for use of the bridge, even though suggestions were put forward. “Cost recovery and maintenance of the bridge is important, but the focus should be somewhere else,” he said.
“Where we need to put our major attention is on the mining operations taking place in the parish and how to find a way to get a cess to be used to maintain the roads,” Dr. Ferguson said.
He stated that overloaded trucks have destroyed the road surface and stakeholders in the mining industry would have to be approached to play their part in addressing the matter.