Troy bridge still a sore point in Trelawny Southern
More than two years after a bridge along the main thoroughfare in their community collapsed, residents of Troy in Trelawny Southern do not believe the authorities are giving the issue the priority it needs to have the structure replaced.
The bridge, which was built in 1896 and had been showing signs of deterioration for several years prior to its collapse after the passing of Tropical Storm Grace, served residents and commuters travelling between the parishes of Trelawny, Manchester, and St Elizabeth, including students and teachers at the nearby Troy High School.
Speaking with The Gleaner on Sunday, some Troy residents were sceptical that any attention will be given to the bridge any time soon, with some believing that it will have to take a major tragedy to spur any meaningful action.
Raymond Plummer pointed to a makeshift rope-and-bucket structure used to transport everything – from market goods to human beings – dangling precariously several feet above the rushing Hector’s River.
“We need the bridge because right now it’s difficult for the kids in the area. The kids are likely to drown over there, and we don’t want to see that happen,” said Plummer, noting the dangerous nature of the contraption.
“August makes two years gone since the bridge was out, and is a whole heap of us it has been puzzling. You could ‘forward’ from Warsop and check your family here instead of having to be driving the long way around.”
Another resident, Jessica Carter, was equally concerned.
“We need the bridge to be fixed, and people are constantly promising to fix the bridge and they are not fixing it,” she told The Gleaner.
Last September, Prime Minister Andrew Holness announced in the House of Representatives that the Government was moving to fast-track the process to have a new bridge installed at the site.
“I have seen the situation regarding the Troy Bridge and I am following it. I have been briefed that the designs [for a new bridge] are complete. My understanding is that they are about to go to procurement soon ... .
“The Government of Jamaica takes these situations very seriously and it is not our intention for the people to believe that their plight is not considered as serious and, therefore, ... I am going to be personally visiting Troy. I will make the arrangements,” Holness said.
Manchester North Western Member of Parliament (MP) Mikael Phillips previously expressed concern over the delay in replacing the structure, which is situated along the main road from Troy in Trelawny Southern to Oxford in his Manchester North Western constituency.
DIFFICULT FOR RESIDENTS
He said that the situation was causing hardships for residents of the nearby communities as it disrupted commute causing a major inconvenience to residents while also affecting commerce and schools. He said some parents had even been transferring their children to other schools to avoid the dangerous trip across the river or the alternative route which has added more than 10 miles to the journey each way.
Fifty-year-old businessman Fabian Davis, who is the People’s National Party’s standard-bearer in Trelawny Southern in the wake of last week’s resignation of MP Marisa Dalrymple-Philibert, said if he is elected to represent the constituency, the Troy bridge will be one of his priorities.
“ ... That will be one of my main focuses – to rehabilitate and build a new bridge. The first step, if I should become the next member of parliament, is to lobby with the Government in power and put on the pressure in terms of working with persons from the constituency,” said Davis.
“It does not matter who is in power; that bridge is very important, especially for kids going to school and even for farmers to bring their goods to the market, especially in North Trelawny,” he added.