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JIS News

Preliminary work has started for the reconstruction of the Yallahs fording in St. Thomas, which was severely damaged during Hurricane Dennis in July.Already, design work for the project has begun and should be completed by the end of October, said Dr. Fenton Ferguson, State Minister for Transport and Works.
He told JIS News that a consultant, chosen by tender, had visited the site and had already submitted geo-technical and hydraulic reports. “They have also made their recommendation, which will lead to the final design stage,” he added.
“Once the design is completed, there are two options and these are presently being evaluated,” Mr. Ferguson noted. These include going to tender or adopting a turnkey approach to the rebuilding of the bridge.
“Once you go to tender at the end of October, you’re looking at about January before you would award a contract and it would be about April before construction work would begin,” he informed.
“If it starts in April, the expectations are that it would take somewhere between 15 and 18 months for completion and that would be about near the end of 2007 for a completion date,” he noted. This timeline, he said, would be influenced by the option used.
Reconstruction of the bridge is projected to cost the government some $500 million, but the figure is expected to increase as rehabilitative work is undertaken on lands adjacent to the site to ensure the longevity of the bridge.
The work, which will be carried out on a phased basis starting at the Poorman’s Corner community, is expected to cost an additional $600 million.
“It has to be done on a phased basis but the critical areas would be done first. So, even as preparation is being made and residents of St. Thomas are anxious to see the works begin, it is unwise to try and hasten the process without doing the proper investigation and consultation to ensure longevity of the bridge,” the State Minister said.
He told JIS News, that consultations would be held with the residents of Yallahs to apprise them of what was to be done and to hear their concerns. One immediate problem is the mining operation taking place in the Yallahs River. This, he said, had to be heavily monitored to prevent against the destruction of the bridge due to soil erosion.