Minister of Works Maria Browne has assured that assuming no unforeseen occurrences, the Cades Bay Bridge will be completed in nine weeks.
Last weekend, a vehicle veered off the roadway near the construction site at Cades Bay Bridge, landing in a 9-foot ravine.
But in a statement to the media Tuesday night, Browne said the government had placed barricades, cones, and detour signage, which help members of the driving public navigate the construction area, but they were stolen.
She said the Ministry of Works is aware of a vehicular accident; at the time, there was increased traffic through the area due to the Urlings Seafood Festival.
Browne said the Ministry is relieved that no one was seriously hurt.
Police barricades were initially erected and were proving quite effective. Additionally, detour signs and cones were installed and erected as work on the bridge progressed.
Still, Browne explained that they have been removed in repeated malicious acts of theft and vandalism, Browne explained in the press statement.
Browne said she is making it her business to ensure that even more effective custom-made signage, securely fastened to the ground using chains and blocks, was installed. Still, unfortunately, these were stolen, as were the two additional cones put on site following the string of thefts.
Two bridge walls were constructed on July 28, removing the material blocking access to the site. Backfilling will commence after the 21 days needed to set the walls above.
Motorists are urged to proceed with caution in the area.
The Ministry is further urging those making it a practice to remove the caution signs to desist, as their actions could harm innocent drivers and only slow the pace of the necessary improvement repairs.
The UPP’s Candidate for St. Mary’s South, Kelvin ” Shugy ” Simon, has harshly criticized Browne, who said that a makeshift traffic bypass had been constructed. Still, little progress has been made in rebuilding the bridge, which jeopardizes the safety of motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians.
Simon believes that the bridge must be modernized to withstand climate change’s effects, and he calls for several issues to be addressed immediately.
These include the eroding roadway with a sharp drop-off, the lack of signage warning of the hazards, the overgrowth and obstructions blocking the view of the roadway, and poor lighting.
“The community has been calling for the government to address this safety issue, and their calls have been disregarded. Work has been proceeding at a snail’s pace, and construction has come to a virtual halt since the general elections. This is a very hazardous work zone, and motorists must navigate the area with caution. ABLP has failed to invest in our country’s infrastructure and has been unduly careless in maintaining a safe work zone at Cades Bay,” Simon said.
With the Piano Fest at Cades Bay this weekend, Simon is calling for safety barriers and other measures to be implemented immediately.