Jamaica’s PM reopens Portland bridge, talks further rehabilitation

Prime Minister of Jamaica Andrew Holness says there are plans to rehabilitate, repair and or reconstruct forty-two bridges under the Southern Coastal Highway Improvement Project.  

Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness

Holness made the disclosure during the opening ceremony of the East Palm community bridge in Eastern Portland last Friday. 

Holness said he became aware of the problem with the bridge when he visited the parish during the bi-election.

“I remember when I visited this year, during the by-election, the people were complaining about the bridge and I give my commitment that we would ensure that this bridge is done. And here we are today,” said Holness.

Holness revealed that the bridge was closed in 2015 with no apparent plans to be replaced. “Indeed, when I got here, people were complaining bitterly about the bridge.”

He suggested that the bridge was a visible sign of his administration’s care for the community. 

“We care. We don’t only come and profess it and say it and speak eloquently with beautiful speech, but we show it. We demonstrated at the end of the day when I leave here and go home you can say that there is something there that is tangible and visible and shows that your government cares,” added Holness.

Holness went on to admit that while maintaining ageing bridges and replacing deficient ones was a serious challenge his administration was committed to meeting the challenge.

He further said that his administration had made significant strides in this department over its four and half year term 

“I don’t think that there has been another government in its first term in four and half years that has replaced or upgraded or repaired as many bridges as this government has done,” added Holness.

The new structure at East Palm River replaces the 70-year-old bridge that was there previously.

The works were completed under $24.3 million contract in four months.