JIS News

Traffic flow between Kingston and St. Thomas has been restored with the newly installed Bailey bridge, which spans the Hope River in Harbour View, St. Andrew, but with a number of safety restrictions.
Communications Director of the Ministry of Transport and Works, Reginald Allen, told JIS News that the bridge was opened to vehicular traffic since the night of September 2, but would only be able to accommodate vehicles of a prescribed weight.
“Motorists are actually very relieved to have this facility at their disposal, so there is now continuous traffic between Kingston and St. Thomas, albeit by a single lane Bailey bridge,” Mr. Allen said. However, in order to ensure the integrity of the temporary structure, he noted, there are some restrictions to its use.
“There are limitations regarding its uses in respect to the size and weight of units, which is to be fully established, but certainly large trucks and trailers are a no-no,” the Communications Director emphasized, adding that only buses with up to 32 passengers would be able to traverse the structure, “which includes one type of Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) fleet.” He stressed, however, that emergency vehicles, such as fire units, would be allowed to access the bridge at all times.
Mr. Allen said that basic security arrangements are in place to ensure adherence to weight limitations and other restrictions regarding the use of the bridge. “Arrangements are being made to install a fording in the area, for heavy vehicles to cross the Hope River,” he pointed out, noting that it would take some time, but would be available as soon as possible.
“Arrangements have also been made for barging of food and other critical supplies to Bowden Wharf in St. Thomas, to augment supplies in the parish,” he noted.
The National Works Agency (NWA) was responsible for assembling and installing the structure across the Hope River. On Tuesday, September 2, access to the bridge was limited to pedestrians as there was a delay in allowing access to vehicular traffic. Explaining this delay, Communications and Customer Service Manager of the NWA, Stephen Shaw, told JIS News that the agency has to adhere to stipulated safety procedures, in order to ensure the safety of workers and users of the bridge.
“We are ensuring that all safety issues are taken care of, as we will not compromise the safety of our customers, neither will we compromise the safety of the workers on the site and so we are not leaving anything to chance,” he explained.