Saturday, April 13, 2024

Bridge ready by month-end

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THE PARTIAL REOPENING of the Joe’s River Bridge in St Joseph is a welcome step for the many people who depend on that crossing.The bridge is scheduled to be completed by month-end but in the meantime, pedestrians are allowed to travel on it.Fabian Mayers told the DAILY NATION yesterday it was now a lot easier to get around and the work was progressing nicely. He was making the transition from one Bathsheba bus to the next – one, he said, comes from town and drops passengers at the bridge, where they board another bus, which then travels to Bathsheba.Another resident, Godfrey Cumberbatch, said the Ministry of Transport and Works was doing a good job but he hoped they would also widen the road.“This road has wanted widening for a long time. Now I’m hoping the gabions hold and they widen the road.“After they first closed the bridge, I really felt for the people who had to walk a mile to get home, especially in the rain or through mud,” he said.A woman, who was also crossing from one bus to the next, said it was more convenient for pedestrians now and she hoped the work would be completed on time.Intermittent rainfall has slowed the progress of work on the bridge, but officials from the MTW are assuring motorists that vehicular traffic could use the road by the end of the month.  Avonda Scott, senior information officer with the ministry said: “Traffic will be able to cross the bridge by the end of this month as work on the gabion wall will be completed.”Work began on the bridge in January following the collapse of a section, but was halted when part of the eastern abutment wall of the bridge collapsed on April 19, forcing the MTW to close the structure to vehicular and pedestrian traffic.The ministry is constructing gabion abutment walls to reinstate the existing arch bridge (an arch bridge being the curved design of the structure) as an initial step towards the construction of a modern culvert to facilitate heavy vehicles.The on-site team has excavated the north-eastern face of the bridge abutment and placed gabion baskets to retain the abutment fill. Ministry of Transport and Works engineer in charge of the project, Dave Scantlebury, explained that once the gabion baskets were completed the bridge posts would be installed and painted. “Widening and further improvements to the bridge will be done following its reopening to traffic. The area will be reduced to one lane to facilitate the ongoing work,” he said.

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