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Minister of Transport and Works, Hon. Michael Henry, officially opened the new Alligator Church Bridge in the Rio Grande Valley in Portland on Thursday September 2.
The bridge was built at a cost of US$600,000, under the Canadian R.A. Murray Bridge Programme. It replaces the old structure which was condemned due to deterioration over the years. Work began on the new bridge in August, 2009, and was recently completed.

Minister of Transport and Works, Hon. Mike Henry (second right) and Minister with responsibility for Information, Telecommunications and Special Projects in the Office of the Prime Minister and Member of Parliament for Portland Western, Hon. Daryl Vaz (third left), walk across the new Alligator Church Bridge in the Rio Grande Valley, Portland. The bridge was officially opened on Thursday September 2. Chief Executive Officer of the National Works Agency, Patrick Wong is second left.

Approximately 2,000 residents from the adjoining communities of Windsor, Ginger House and Bellevue will benefit from the new structure, which will make it easier and safer for pedestrians and vehicular traffic to access the communities.
Speaking at the function, Mr. Henry said that on assuming office, he realised that the Alligator Church Bridge was one project in the parish that needed urgent attention. He said he was pleased that within a year, he was able to finish a new bridge.
He congratulated Prime Minister Bruce Golding for supporting the initiative, and thanked the designers, the R.A. Murray Bridge Programme and the National Works Agency (NWA), for their role in its success.
Earlier, Mr. Henry launched the Portland leg of the $36 billion Jamaica Development Infrastructure Programme (JDIP) in St. Margaret’s Bay, Portland, and toured sections of the Rio Grande Valley and on Friday September 3.

The pedestrian section of the Alligator Church Bridge in the Rio Grande Valley, Portland, which was officially opened on Thursday September 2. The bridge was recently constructed at a cost of US$600,000 under the Canadian R.A. Murray Bridge programme. The bridge connects the communities of Ginger House, Comfort Castle, Bellevue and Mill Bank with Windsor and the other communities of the Rio Grande Valley. The old structure was condemned after it deteriorated over the years.

He was accompanied by Minister with responsibility for Information, Telecommunications and Special Projects in the Office of the Prime Minister, Hon. Daryl Vaz, who is also Member of Parliament for Portland Western.
Mr. Vaz said the plan was to give urgent attention to the breakaway at Friday, which connects the communities of Comfort Castle and Mill Bank with the other communities in the Rio Grande valley.
“We have no problem identifying the funding: It is in place, the priority is to get Friday back open, so that the people who are unable to move by vehicular traffic can do so in the short term,” he stated.
Mr Vaz said that during year two and three of the JDIP, 19 miles of roadway, between Fellowship and Mill Bank, and three miles of road to Bellevue would be rehabilitated.
Residents in the community said they were grateful for the new bridge, as it would make travelling “in and out” of their communities much easier.
JDIP is being funded by the Governments of Jamaica and China and will focus on the rehabilitation of major and parochial roads, construction and repair of bridges, drains and retaining walls across Jamaica over a five year period.