Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller was among a group of officials which opened the Kintyre Bridge in Papine, St. Andrew on Wednesday, December 4, 2013.
The $100M structure spans the Hope River and serves several communities such as Kintyre, Papine and August Town. It was erected to replace the previous bridge which was washed away during heavy flood rains of September 2012.
In speaking to the importance of the bridge to the community, the PM noted that the residents of the Community were now ‘well connected’ and exhorted them to help protect the investment that was the bridge. She used the opportunity to thank all the persons who were instrumental in the bridge’s construction and urged the National Works Agency (NWA)/Ministry of Transport, Works & Housing (MTWH) to effect a series of river training programmes to assist in the protection of the structure.
Turning to the matter of road repairs, the Prime Minister announced a $500M programme to be undertaken by the MTWH/NWA. $200M of this amount was dedicated to road patching and repairs islandwide; $130M to flood mitigation and bushing works; $51M to drain cleaning; over $70M to river training and $50M to replace manhole covers and guard rails. She noted that the programme of works was more than just a ‘Christmas gift’ but that it would provide employment for persons in the various communities all over the island.
Also speaking at the ceremony was Minister without portfolio (Housing), Hon. Dr. Morais Guy who recounted the dire situation which led to the construction of the bridge.
“For years, your community had become a routine news story each time there was a heavy downpour as it seemingly became inevitable that the Kintyre Bridge would be compromised by either being fully covered by the waters of the Hope River or suffering more damage with each passing storm,” the Minister explained.
“Continuing, he said, “It was then that the government gave a commitment to effectively address this perennial issue. Thanks to a joint initiative between the Jamaica Emergency Employment Programme (JEEP) and JDIP, we can now declare promise made, promise kept!
Among the other speakers at the ceremony were, MP for the area, Mr. Andre Hylton; Opposition Spokesman on Housing, Water & Environment, Dr. Horace Chang; State Minister Richard Azan; MP for Eastern St. Andrew, Hon. Damion Crawford and Pastor Anthony Taylor who offered prayers