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Work on reconstruction of a permanent bridge across the Dry (Hope) River, Harbour View, in eastern St. Andrew, will start this month, following Wednesday’s (August 18) groundbreaking ceremony.
The previous bridge, destroyed during Tropical Storm Gustav in August 2008, was the most viable access between Kingston and the eastern parishes, including St. Thomas and Portland. Since then, the National Works Agency (NWA) has built a two-lane ford (Bailey bridge) which is being used as the main traffic route.
Funded under an Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) loan costing US$ 8.9 million, work on the new bridge is scheduled to be completed by September, 2011. It is being undertaken by Kier Construction Limited. The National Works Agency (NWA) is in charge of management and execution.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the NWA, Patrick Wong, said that the project is proposed as a design/build ‘turn key’ construction, noting that its 18-month life has already started, including the completed design phase.
He said that the new structure will be built to accommodate four lanes of traffic, given the projected volume of traffic entering Kingston along the eastern corridor.
Mr. Wong noted that the bridge will also be built on piled foundations which will be anchored with “rock solid” material, so that, “even when the river is coming through”, it won’t be able to remove the abutment, which led to the collapse of the previous bridge.
“It will be sufficiently dimensioned in length and clearance to the river invert, so as to safely allow for a 100-year storm flow to pass through its opening. In other words, as the Dry River comes down, the bridge will be able to (withstand it),” he said.
Mr. Wong also noted that the bridge will be constructed with materials to minimise future routine maintenance costs to taxpayers.
The CEO said the construction comprises three main components – a four-lane, 120 metre-long bridge; a four-lane road, approximately one kilometre from the Harbour View round-a-bout, eastwards; and protection works to the piers and abutments.
He added that the Agency would be looking at serious river training of the Dry River, once the work is underway, so that the flow of the river, before it reaches the bridge, can be streamlined.
Mr. Wong said that arrangements are being made to ensure that the nearby Donald Quarrie School, and residents, are not disrupted more than necessary during construction.
Minister of Transport and Works, Hon. Michael Henry, said the construction of the bridge was “merely the beginning” of an overall road enhancement programme in Harbour View. He noted that major street patching is to start in Harbour View, as the precursor to micro surfacing next year.
He encouraged residents to protect the gullies from indestructible items, which lead to rivers being blocked and eventually flooding.
Member of Parliament for East Rural St. Andrew, Joseph Hibbert, said that he was pleased that he was witnessing the groundbreaking for the structure “that is going to be built to last.”
Area Manager for Kier Construction Limited, Steve Milner, said that Kier is committed to the project, to working with the NWA and the local communities, supporting employment, supporting the schools in the area, working with the general public, with the end result being to produce a first class project to required time lines, budget and in a safe and controlled manner.
President of the Harbour View Citizens Association, Beryl Urquart, commended the Government for “moving very swiftly” to alleviate the problems caused by the destruction of the bridge.
She also expressed gratitude that much thought had been put into the construction of the bridge, with the necessary “checks and balances” to protect the school and residents.

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