New Plantain Garden River Bridge Opens

The new Plantain Garden River bridge, constructed by the government at a cost of $71.5 million, was opened late last week in St. Thomas.The 290-foot double lane bridge, which spans the Plantain Garden River, replaces a 195-year old structure and provides a critical link between eastern St. Thomas and the rest of the parish and to the world famous Bath mineral fountain and botanical gardens.
The project, which was undertaken by the National Works Agency (NWA) included the erection of concrete abutments and wing walls, structural steel girders and diaphragms, construction of a reinforced concrete deck and side-walks with aluminium railing.
River training and protective works were also done, including the construction of gabion baskets and the asphalting of the bridge decks and approach roads.
Minister of State for Housing, Water, Transport and Works, Richard Azan, who spoke at the opening ceremony, said that the bridge will contribute to the overall development of the parish and enhance tourism.
Chief Technical Director in the Ministry, Desmond Munroe, said that having recognised that the old bridge could no longer accommodate larger vehicles, especially trucks, a contract was awarded by Cabinet for its replacement.
He noted that the Ministry and the NWA have placed emphasis on bridges as a key part of the road network. “This bridge is a product of that emphasis and forms part of the thrust to ensure that the NWA fulfils its mission of meeting the needs of its people in the communities where they work and live,” he noted.
“I can tell you that bridges completed and open to traffic at Comfort Hall in Manchester, Agole and Banbury in St. Catherine, Appleton in St. Elizabeth, Pedro River at the border of Northern Clarendon and South East St. Ann as well as Wakefield and Springvale along the Barry detour route in St. Catherine, were all welcomed by the residents, farmers, taxi operators, students, truckers and pedestrians. They are confident that these structures are safe and reliable and have no fear for their safety,” he stated.
Member of Parliament for Eastern St. Thomas, Dr. Fenton Ferguson, in his remarks, said that the bridge represented another opportunity for the opening up of investments in the parish and in Bath in particular.
The structure is expected to benefit communities such as Bath, Airy Castle, Bachelor’s Hall, Wheeler’s Field, Johnson Mountain, Spring Bank, Sunny Hill, Water Valley, Louden Door and Ginger Hill.

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