(L-R) Area Manager for Kier Construction Co. Ltd., Steve Milner; Member of Parliament for East Rural St. Andrew, Joseph Hibbert; Minister of Transport and Works, the Hon. Mike Henry; and Chief Executive Officer of the National Works Agency, Patrick Wong prepare to officially break ground for the construction of the Dry River Bridge in Harbour View

Ground has been broken for construction to begin on the New Dry River Bridge in Harbour View, St. Andrew. Minister of Transport and Works, the Hon. Mike Henry, Chief Executive Officer of the National Works Agency, Patrick Wong, and officials from Kier Construction Company Ltd were on hand to witness the start of the construction phase of the project. The structure is being erected to replace the collapsed bridge as a result of flood rains associated with Tropical Storm Gustav in August, 2008. As a result, connection between Kingston and the Eastern Parishes had been restricted as a temporary structure had to be erected to accommodate movement.

Minister of Transport and Works, the Hon. Mike Henry, officially breaks ground for the start of the construction of the New Dry River Bridge in Harbour View

The replacement of the bridge is part of the Jamaica Development Infrastructure Project (JDIP), and is to be completed at a cost of US$8.9 million. Minister Henry said that the replacement of the collapsed structure is the beginning of the implementation phase of a programme to uplift Jamaica. He said that the programme will run for five years, and will also include sheet patching in the Harbour View Community. He implored the residents to protect the bridge when it is completed.  “Extreme physical tragedy struck two years ago; the collapse of the bridge significantly hampered connection between the city and the North East coast of Jamaica, where we had to erect a temporary Bailey bridge and fording. But we immediately recognized that such a structure could not suffice so we are now building a bridge with a vision that goes further than the immediacy of purpose. The old bridge had two lanes; this new structure will have four. With the weight scale station also in Harbour View, I use this opportunity to implore quarry and haulage operators to help us maintain the structure to ensure its long life.”

Chief Executive Officer at the National Works Agency (NWA), Patrick Wong, explains that in addition to accommodating four lanes of traffic, the new structure will be built to safely allow a 100 year storm flow to pass through as the foundations of the bridge will be anchored on piles to ensure that the river will not remove or damage the abutments. Mr. Wong added that a four lane road will also be extended to the Harbour View Roundabout, as well as a series of river training exercises for the Hope River.