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Joe’s River $600 000 bill

Andrew Browne, [email protected]

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MAKING THE Joe’s River Bridge in St Joseph safe again will cost Government as much as $600 000.
Minister of Transport and Works John Boyce gave this estimate yesterday during a visit to the damaged bridge with ministry officials.
The visit followed complaints from pedestrians about difficulties in crossing the bridge, now closed to vehicular traffic, and the time it has taken Government to complete the job.
Boyce apologised to the people of St Joseph for any inconvenience they faced because of the damage and closure of the bridge, but said upgrading the bridge posed a number of technical problems and Government was committed to doing the best job possible.
He said the ministry had set a deadline of July 30/ August 5 for vehicular access to the bridge, “even if it’s a single lane”.
He told reporters that Government was prepared to sanction overtime work and additional Ministry of Transport and Works personnel for the project to ensure it was completed on schedule.
He pointed out that the bridge was being widened to accommodate two lanes of vehicular traffic, with footpaths being added.
As to the cost, he said: “This is looking like $600 000 in funds, which we will have to use from our allocation for bridge work.”
Accompanying Boyce on the tour were Permanent Secretary Lionel Nurse, Chief Technical Officer Frank Thornhill and his deputy, Philip Tudor.
The technical officials said the bridge, like many others in Barbados, had been built in the 1920s and the loads it was now carrying were not envisaged in those days.
They said plasti-coated wire gabion baskets with thousands of stones, as well as pylons, were being added to the bridge structure to secure it to handle modern-day vehicle loads.
The baskets with their loads will replace tons of “Joe’s River mud” being excavated from the bridge, the officials told reporters. (TY)