(Spanish Wells, Eleuthera, The Bahamas) -The construction of the replacement bridge between Spanish Wells and Russell Island has commenced and is projected to be completed by November 2020.
Works Minister the Honourable T. Desmond Bannister said the bridge between Spanish Wells and Russell Island provides the only vehicular access between the two islands.
“There have been major delays to the project as the contractor was severely affected from Hurricane Dorian with the company losing the majority of their equipment. Also, the restriction imposed due to COVID-19, affected the project. Unfortunately, in May 2020, the existing bridge collapsed when a heavily loaded cement truck passed over the structure” Mr. Bannister said.
“Following the collapse, a temporary access across the waterway, was constructed using a barge. Currently, the collapsed bridge has been removed and the new sheet piled abutments have recently been completed.”
Deputy Director and Civil/Structural Engineer Robert Mouzas said the next stage of the project is the installation of a modular Acrow Bridge.
Mr. Mouzas said, “The modular kit bridge is manufactured with high-strength steel. Manufactured in the United States the bridge was galvanized to protect against corrosion. The modular bridge will be assembled on the approach road and rolled into place from the northern side of the site. The advantage of using a modular bridge is the time for assembly and installation with an anticipated time of only 2 weeks.”
Waugh Construction (Bahamas) Limited won the contract, for the project in June 2019, following a competitive tender exercise.
Robert Roberts, Spanish Wells Chief Councillor said the residents are “thrilled” that the bridge is being replaced. He said, “I speak on behalf of the residents as chief councillor that we are thrilled that we are getting a new bridge. One that hopefully we won’t have to worry about anymore. All in all, everything is going well.”
“We’ve been trying to get the bridge repaired and then replaced for almost nine years. The bridge was not in good shape and that certainly came to light in May when it collapsed and gave way. Luckily, the bridge didn’t do what we envisioned it to do; it went down very slowly.”