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Mayor threatens ‘action’ over delays in Paradise Bridge repairs

Published:Friday | June 14, 2019 | 12:36 AMAlbert Ferguson/Gleaner Writer
A vehicle crossing the deteriorating Paradise Bridge in  Ferris, Westmoreland.
A vehicle crossing the deteriorating Paradise Bridge in Ferris, Westmoreland.

Western Bureau:

Savanna-la-Mar Mayor Bertel Moore says the Westmoreland Municipal Corporation (WMC) plans to take action unless the National Works Agency (NWA) takes steps within the next 30 days to repair the Paradise Bridge in Ferris, which has steadily been crumbling in recent months.

The bridge, which is along the main thoroughfare leading into the town of Savanna-la-Mar from the direction of Montego Bay, St James, started showing signs of major disrepair last September and is now posing a safety risk for persons travelling in the area.

“It’s time we get some action,” said Moore, while addressing yesterday’s regular monthly meeting of the WMC. “If we don’t get some action within the next month, we can’t tell you what will happen, but we are not going to sit down and take it like this. We are not going sit down like dead dogs and take it like this. It is time that they recognise the problem that is going on there,” added Moore.

Moore voiced displeasure at what he said was a lack of attention to issues in the parish from state agencies.

“Whoever is responsible for this bridge needs to wake up and understand that Westmoreland is a part of Jamaica ... ,” argued Moore. “Westmoreland is part of Jamaica and in all that they are doing throughout the island, we are here looking at Westmoreland as nothing is happening down here.”

The National Works Agency had ordered the bridge closed last October, but with detour routes deemed unsafe or unfeasible, some commuters have insisted on using the closed roadway.

“I am tired of getting complaints from people travelling in the parish who don’t know anything about what is happening there, and then when they see the first section that is blocked off, some of them go through that other road (Sweet River Road) where some get robbed, and all those things,” Moore lamented.

When contacted, Janel Ricketts, communications manager for the National Works Agency’s western region, said plans are afoot to start repair work shortly.

“A contract valued at $48 million has been awarded, and within a few weeks, we should see work taking place to repair the broken bridge,” Ricketts told The Gleaner yesterday.