Wed | May 22, 2019

Rock to get new bridge

Published:Friday | April 12, 2019 | 12:42 AMAdrian Frater/News Editor

WESTERN BUREAU:

The Rock Bridge in Falmouth, Trelawny, which was recently closed by the National Works Agency (NWA) because of significant structural defects, will be replaced.

Janel Rickets, community relations officer at the NWA’s Western Region, said that careful analysis had concluded that the bridge could not be fixed.

“We did some repairs to it some 10 years ago, but it is now beyond repair, so we are looking at constructing another bridge.”

Ricketts said that the plan for the construction of the replacement bridge is still at a preliminary stage, so she was not able to provide details on matters such as timeline and costing.

“We are not yet at a stage where we can provide any significant details about this new bridge, but it is something that is under consideration,” noted Ricketts. “I believe the new bridge will be constructed at the site of the old bridge, but at this time, I can’t say for sure, because ... the planning is at a very early stage.”

For persons inconvenienced by the closure of the 100-year-old bridge, Ricketts said a temporary road has been created in the proximity of the Falmouth Pier, which is being used as an alternative road. Ricketts said that the Port Authority of Jamaica gave permission for access to the alternative road, which is asphalted and in fair condition.

When the bridge, which facilitated access between Falmouth and the Rock Fishing Village, was closed towards the end of February, several persons, including fishermen, claimed that it would result in significant dislocation and have a devastating impact on their livelihood. However, Falmouth Mayor Collen Gager said the closure was necessary.

“I regret the sudden closure, but the condition of the bridge meant a decision had to be made,” said Gager. “A technical team from the NWA had a look at it, and they observed that the metal support under the bridge had deteriorated to a point where it could not be repaired. What they saw was danger staring them in the face.”

Since the closure of the bridge, business operators in Rock have said that business has nosedived.

adrian.frater@gleanerjm.com