Residents of Chesterfield in St. Mary now have improved access to their community following the opening of a $59-million bridge by Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness.
The bridge, which runs across the Wag Water River, was officially opened to pedestrians and vehicular traffic during a ceremony on Wednesday (October 16).
Prime Minister Holness said this formed part of the Government’s plan for the development of the north eastern end of the island which includes St. Mary, Portland and parts of St. Thomas.
He noted that there are other bridges being installed at Barracks River in the parish, as well as Tranquility in Portland and Mahogany Vale in St. Thomas.
“In the next financial year, we will make another allocation to do a similar project where we will seek to repair or replace bridges right across the island,” he said.
The Prime Minister said while he was pleased that the bridge is now complete, expressed concern that it took 14 months and not the six to seven months originally projected.
He pointed out, however, that the delay did not result from incompetence, but rather inclement weather, the need to source specialised equipment to erect the bridge, as well as the lengthy procurement process.
The works also included creating approach roads on both sides of the structure, which also took some time.
In the meantime, Prime Minister Holness noted that repairs to the Junction main road has commenced, and involves extensive work which includes the widening of corridor and grading of hillsides.
“Our intention is to widen and straighten the Junction Road going right back down to Stony Hill. It can’t be done overnight, but we are committed to sections and phases and, as our budget can carry, to have it done,” he said.
Mr. Holness also informed that work has also started on the Southern Coastal Highway Improvement Project.
Construction of the Chesterfield Bridge was done by the National Works Agency under the Major Infrastructure Development Project (MIDP).