Current Affairs

Current Affairs




Permanent bridge for Yallahs Fording, says PM
Observer Reporter
Thursday, November 14, 2002


Prime Minister P J Patterson (centre) is flanked by Transport and Works Minister Robert Pickersgill (right) and Fenton Ferguson, the junior minister for transport and works during yesterday's inspection of the Yallahs Fording Bailey Bridge. (Photo: Joseph Wellington)

A permanent bridge is to be constructed across the more than 600 feet wide Yallahs Fording in St Thomas to replace the recently completed Bailey Bridge which is to be officially opened shortly, Prime Minister P J Patterson announced yesterday. The new bridge is estimated to cost $180 million.

The Yallahs Fording was washed away by the September flood rains which left over $300 million in damage to property and agriculture in the eastern parishes.

Yesterday, Patterson, during an inspection of the Bailey Bridge, noted that it was intended to be a temporary facility and said that the design for the new bridge had been completed.

Patterson could not commit himself to a specific time frame when construction would begin on the permanent bridge, as, he said, the design had to be approved and the money sourced for its construction.

The funds, he explained, were not provided for in this year's budget but will have to be provided for in a future allocation.

The prime minister said after the flood destroyed the bridge he responded immediately and following a meeting with the National Disaster Preparedness Committee, instructed that the Bailey Bridge be constructed with the full support of the Jamaica Defence Force Engineering Unit.

He said the bridge will assist in the return to a free flow of traffic between the Corporate Area and the eastern parishes.

The bridge has a 30-ton weight capacity and two mobile scales, operated by the Island Traffic Authority and the police, are installed at both entrances to prevent vehicles from exceeding the maximum capacity. Vehicles beyond that weight will be required to go via Easington.

Constructed in a record three weeks at a cost of $16 million, the 240-feet long by 10-feet wide Bailey Bridge is the longest of its kind in the world utilising the compact 200 double steel panels supplied by Europe's largest manufacturers of steel bridges, Mabey & Johnson.

The bridge has a 30-year life span.