New Bridge Between East and West Grand Bahama

Wednesday, 22 July 2009 00:00 Lisa Wells
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The Grand Bahama Port Authority (GBPA) has embarked on a new project to construct a new bridge, which will carry the Grand Bahama Highway over the Lucayan Waterway.

The announcement was made at a press conference Tuesday at the GBPA headquarters.

Director of the Port Group of Companies Sir Jack Hayward said the new four-lane, concrete bridge will connect East and West Grand Bahama across the Grand Bahama Highway.

The bridge would also be able to accommodate a more weight than the old Casuarina Bridge.

"This means that the people on the east side of the Lucayan Waterway will be able to get to the airport, the shops and the center of town here easier and quicker. They would also save petrol and decrease wear and tear on their vehicles. I am hoping that the bridge will also have recesses where people could stand and watch or where they might also fish from the bridge."

The construction of the bridge will also create job opportunities for some 40-50 persons, he said.

In addition to the new bridge, Sir Jack revealed that there is also an investor who is interested in developing the Dover Sound area with the construction of a hotel, marina and restaurant.

He noted, however, that the investor will not pursue this endeavor unless a bridge is constructed connecting the highway.

Sir Jack said that the management of the Port Authority and DEVCO have been concerned for some time that the only access egress from East and West Grand Bahama is across the Lucayan Waterway and there is only one means to cross the waterway - the Casaurina Bridge, which is now 40 years old.

"Bridges do wear out and can collapse and if the Casaurina Bridge collapses that means there will be two islands - East and West Grand Bahama. West Grand Bahama would not be too badly affected but poor old East Grand Bahama would not have any access to the clinics, the airport, the schools, the shops and would pretty well be isolated unless they could swim," Sir Jack said.

"So we have thought for a very long time that we must have a secondary means, a secondary route to join up the islands. The logical place is the Grand Bahama Highway, which was cut in half when the Lucayan Waterway was dredged out and a lot of people predicted at the time that the island would sink and the water table would be destroyed but nothing did," he said.

Graham Torode, President and CEO of the Grand Bahama Development Company noted that this key piece of infrastructure on the island would give Grand Bahama a tremendous advantage in terms of attracting investment to the island.

"This bridge is going to be a substantial piece in that jigsaw," he said. "Not only will it connect the two sides of the island…but it will also open up further investment on the eastern side of the Grand Lucayan Waterway, where over the next twenty or thirty years, we believe that this is where the majority of investment is going to be," Mr. Torode said.

Meanwhile Sir Jack hinted that if the proposed land development for Barbary Beach moves forward as expected, another bridge will be built across Midshipman Road.

In this regard, he said a swivel bridge or drawbridge is being considered.

Hannes Babak, Chairman of the Port Group Limited was also at yesterday’s press conference.

Source: The Bahama Journal