A $791 million contract was signed at the Ministry of Transport and Works, in Kingston, on March 19, for the reconstruction of the Dry River Bridge in Harbour View, St. Andrew, almost two years after Tropical Storm Gustav destroyed parts of the structure.
Upon completion, the four-lane bridge will replace the two-lane fording that currently facilitates the movement of both commuters and vehicular traffic from Kingston to the Eastern end of the island.
Speaking at the signing, Minister of Transport and Works, Hon. Mike Henry, said that given the projected large volume of traffic entering Kingston from the Eastern parishes, the replacement is of utmost importance and will impact positively on the economic and social landscape of the area.
“The design of the new bridge in length and clearance is to safely allow for a 100-year storm flow to pass through its opening, and will be grounded on piled foundations in an effort to prevent damage or collapse from scouring,” the Minister said.
Caribbean Area Manager of KIER Construction, Mr. Steve Milner and Member of Parliament for East Rural St. Andrew, Mr. Jospeh Hibbert, sign copies of contract awarded to KIER Construction for the reconstruction of the Dry River Bridge, in Harbour View, St. Andrew. Observing is Senior Public Relations Officer at the Ministry of Transport and Works, Mr. Leo McEwan. The signing took place on Friday, March 19, at the Ministry, in Kingston.
The Dry River Bridge is being built under the Transportation Infrastructure Rehabilitation Programme, through a loan from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).
Member of Parliament for East Rural St. Andrew, Mr. Joseph Hibbert, welcomed the move to reconstruct the bridge.
“Travel to the east is very active, as a significant amount of our traffic is taking in the materials that are required for construction elsewhere. A lot of our mining operations take place east of that bridge, so I am happy to see that this is taking place,” he added.
The contract has been awarded to KIER Construction Ltd., and Minister Henry said that the work should be completed in 16 months.
In the meantime, two other contracts valued at 15.6 million each, were awarded to Surrey Paving and Aggregates Ltd. and Gabion & Structures Co. Ltd for river training works on the Yallahs River, in St. Thomas.
This work, the Minister explained, will “re-establish basic infrastructure services in some affected areas as a result of the damage caused by the continuous overflowing of the river during hurricane seasons.” It will also seek to contain the river in a defined channel from the Yallahs Bridge all the way to Easington.
Mr. Henry informed that the two new contracts represent continuation of river training work which began on the Yallahs River in 2009. The National Works Agency (NWA), he said, has been working to shore up the river bed material and realign and clear the river channel.
Speaking with JIS News, Manager of Communication and Customer Services at the NWA, Mr. Stephen Shaw, noted that the work involves a total of 1.6 km of river training from the new Yallahs Bridge to Easington. “What we are seeking to do is to contain the river in a defined channel. We started river training out at Yallahs last year as part of the IDB Programme for which we had received a loan of US$10 million. We did, at the time, about 300 metres of river training work. We are now seeking to do another 800 metres,” he said.