Work is to commence shortly on a replacement for the Kintyre Bridge in Eastern St. Andrew.
Speaking to journalists during a tour of the structure on October 2, Minister of State in the Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing, Hon. Richard Azan, assured that work will begin as soon as the weather permits and the water pressure has been reduced.
"We hope that if all goes well, depending on the weather conditions…we will start this month or early November," he said, adding that the parts for the bridge are in the island.
He noted that a budget of $100 million has been set aside to carry out the work.
Of the total, $65 million will be used for the installation of the new bridge, and the remaining $35 million will be spent for river training and associated roadway works.
Mr. Azan said that the structure to be built will be a permanent one, adding that in the meantime, improvements will be done to the current fording so that residents can travel to and from the community. He noted that the work will be completed before March 31, 2013.
The Kintyre Bridge is the most central route used by residents of Hope Flats, Cosmo Mews, Clarke Street, St. Joseph’s Road, Bedward Pastures and surrounding areas.
A section of the structure connecting the communities was washed away recently, when the Hope River overflowed its banks from heavy rains which affected the island.
Meanwhile, Minister of State in the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment, and Member of Parliament for St. Andrew, East Rural, Hon. Damion Crawford, informed that work began on Monday, October 1, to restore vehicular access to the area, after flooding over the week-end.
"The trip here is to look at the work that has been done… and to analyse the necessary things to do in the short term," he said, adding that ongoing discussions are being undertaken with the National Works Agency (NWA).
Mr. Crawford encouraged the residents to become responsible in protecting their surroundings and the environment.
"The people must also take some responsibility for what they do…the gabion baskets must be left untouched, and persons must not remove the stones. Do not dump garbage in the gully, as that leads to flooding," he urged.
For his part, Member of Parliament for St. Andrew Eastern, Andre Hylton, informed that de-silting permits have been issued as part of the river training programme associated with the renovation and rehabilitation of the structure.