It was Christmas 2012.
Single mom, Cheryl Alexander, lived with her four children in a small house in Jacob’s Hill, Wallerfield blocked around with plywood and galvanise sheets.
Residents of Rambert Village, La Romaine, breathed a sigh of relief as the long awaited $.9 million Hermitage Community Bridge was officially commissioned on Wednesday. Minister in the Ministry of Works and Infrastructure and MP for the area Stacy Roopnarine said the new two-way bridge will alleviate flooding and reduce accidents. She explained that the old dilapidated one-lane structure was prone to flooding in the rainy season and had been blamed as the cause of numerous accidents.
While the bridge was completed within budget, Roopnarine said it exceeded its December deadline, attributing the delay to the bad weather and challenges with underground WASA mains. She thanked residents for their patience and understanding during the construction phases. “Because of the ongoing works, several businesses suffered, however, the community continued to give their full co-operation and support.”
Roopnarine said the structure was built using cables encased in concrete, which could withstand the pressures of heavy vehicles using this busy thoroughfare. “This is the first bridge in the country to be built with this technology. The contractors used post tensioning to strengthen the structure.”
She said this technology will be used to construct 62 more bridges, in partnership with the Palo Seco Agricultural Enterprises Limited (PSAEL). While the designs for 25 of these bridges have already been completed, Roopnarine said given budgetary constraints, they will build as many as they are able to. “When you see construction begin on a structure that is only half of the work,” she said. “A lot goes on behind the scenes, like the designing and tendering processes.”
Residents who attended the commissioning ceremony welcomed the pedestrian walkway, built alongside the bridge, saying this will provide an element of safety for their children. “We waited so long for this bridge, the old one was really unstable. Today is a great day for our community,” one resident said.