KINGSTON — Prime Minister, the Hon. Andrew Holness, on Wednesday (November 9), officially opened the newly re-constructed Dry River Bridge, situated at Harbour View, St. Andrew.
The four-lane bridge was constructed by Kier Construction Limited at a cost of approximately US$9 million with funding under the Government of Jamaica (GoJ)/Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Transportation Infrastructure Rehabilitation Programme. It replaces the previous structure, which was destroyed during the passage of Tropical Storm Gustav in 2008.
The bridge project, implemented by the National Works Agency (NWA) over an 18-month period, features raised foot-walks to facilitate pedestrians; energy saving LED street lights and traffic signals; pedestrian crossings; improvements to the Harbour View roundabout; and the installation of 600-mm diameter culvert pipes underground for improved water run offs.
Prime Minister Holness, who delivered the main address, said that the work that has been done will “provide a permanent support to the corridor of trade between the eastern end of the island and Kingston."
“I know that you understand and appreciate the value the bridge brings to your lives, community, and the economy, and I therefore encourage you to commute safely on the bridge,” he urged the residents.
He further commended them for the “great level” of tolerance and patience while the work was underway and thanked Kier for delivering the project on time and within budget.
Transport and Works Minister, Hon. Michael Henry, in adding his commendations, noted that the bridge was the first development implemented by the NWA without the input of overseas consultants, adding that “it’s a proud moment for me”. Similar sentiments were expressed by the NWA Chief Executive Officer, Patrick Wong.
IDB Resident Representative in Jamaica, Ancile Brewster, said the Dry River Bridge was one of the many important civil works projects undertaken under the US$50 million Transportation Infrastructure Rehabilitation Project, being financed by the institution.
He said the project aims to rehabilitate essential portions of the island’s main road network, thereby “ensuring physical continuity in the primary transport network”.
Additionally, the IDB Representative said the project also aimed to minimise the impact of future flooding; assist in decreasing travel costs for road users; and strengthen and improve the NWA's capacity to carry out important road, transport and drainage projects".
Kier Construction's Richard Havercroft, who was the project manager, said it was with “great satisfaction” that the company was able to deliver on its contract on time and within budget.
"In less than a year from the start of …construction, we are here for the opening ceremony today… and it’s very pleasing that we have delivered this job safely and without any report of incident or injury," Mr. Havercroft added.
Other officials and guests participating in the ceremony included: State Minister for Transport and Works, Hon. Othneil Lawrence; and Members of Parliament for East Rural St. Andrew, Joseph Hibbert, and Western St. Thomas, James Robertson.
The ceremony was followed by the symbolic ribbon cutting exercise and commissioning of the traffic signals by Prime Minister Holness.
By Douglas Mcintosh, JIS Reporter