|Alternative To Flat Bridge?|
Remember as a child driving over flat bridge with your parents and being told “not a word till we reach across to the other side?” Mi use to fraid.
Built across the Rio Cobre (copper river, so named because of the red bauxite dirt), Flat bridge is a key point on the road between the Corporate Area and the North Coast, which is a destination for many tourists. It was built by the Spanish during their occupation of the island and is said to be one of the strongest bridges in the Western Hemisphere. The bridge is very low, just barely above the level of the river, and this allows the water to flow freely over it, when the river is in spate.
Many lives have been lost at Flat bridge, by drivers, too impatient too daring to wait for the waters to recede. “Mi a go chance it”, they say. Many never make it. Legend has it that there is a mermaid who lives at the bottom of the river, and every now and then, when she is angry or thirsty, she takes a life.
Every time there a major weather system affects Jamaica, the Bog Walk Gorge gets a beating from the rising waters of the powerful Rio Cobre, and the falling rocks. Over the years millions of dollars, and much time and effort, have been invested in restoring the Bog Walk Gorge road after storms, hurricanes or floods. Now in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Gustav Bouygues Travaux Publics Jamaica Limited, builders of roads under the Highway 2000 Project, has been invited to assess a third alternative route to the Bog Walk Gorge.
The current alternate routes include the winding and treacherous Barry or Sligoville Roads. The group is to make its findings available to the Government for consideration. The route being contemplated is Crescent Road. One of the major considerations is the route’s carrying capacity in terms of large vehicles and trucks which ply the Kingston to North Coast route daily.
Recognizing that the National Works Agency (NWA) is stretched thin in carrying out several emergency works to clear numerous landslides and road closures across the island, following the passage of Tropical Storm Gustav, Bouygues has offered to rehabilitate the Bog Walk Gorge at no cost to the Government. Completion of the work is expected by mid October.
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