Contracts amounting to over $800M were signed at the Ministry of Transport and Works on Friday, March 19 for the re-construction of the Dry River Bridge in Harbour View, St. Andrew and river training works connected with theYallahs River in St. Thomas.

Construction of the Dry River Bridge has become necessary following the destruction of part of the bridge from flood rains associated with Tropical Storm Gustav in August, last year. Since then, the National Works Agency (NWA) has built a two lane ford constructed 20 metres upstream which is currently being used as the main traffic route for motor vehicles and commuters.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Works Minister Mike Henry noted that the construction of the bridge will be very important for the area.

“The construction of a new bridge will impact positively on the economic and social landscape of this entire area. Bearing in Mind that the hurricane season is always one that causes us in Jamaica to be more than a little concerned, and the circumstances which attend the disappearance of the former bridge, the construction of this replacement bridge is of paramount importance,” the Minister said.

The new structure will be built to accommodate four lanes of traffic, consistent with the requirement, given the projected traffic volumes entering from an easterly direction. Its design in length and clearance is to safely allow for a 100-year storm flow to pass through its opening. The bridge is being built under the Transportation Infrastructure Rehabilitation Programme through a loan from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). The contract has been awarded to KIER Construction Ltd in the amount of approximately J$791M and will be for a period of sixteen months.

Meanwhile two contracts for river training works on the Yallahs River were also signed.  Work on this project will involve the re-establishment of basic infrastructure services in some affected areas as a result of the damage caused by the continuous overflowing of the river during the hurricane season. Additionally, the work will seek to protect the river channel and enhance constructed bunds.

The two contracts for the river training works were awarded to Surrey Paving and Aggregates Ltd in the amount of J$15.6M and Gabion & Structures Co. Ltd also in the amount of J$15.6M.

The works on the Yallahs bridge area represent a continuation of those which commenced in 2009. The NWA has undertaken the earthworks aspect of the project which includes shoring up of river bed material, re-aligning and clearing of the river channel.

Also speaking at the contract signing were M.P.s for the areas in which the projects fall, James Roberston for Western St. Thomas and Joseph Hibbert for East Rural St. Andrew. They both endorsed the projects and expressed appreciation on behalf of their constituents for the difference it will make in the life of those who will use them.