Work on an $11.1 million structure to replace the Bois d’Orange bridge in the island’s north received its official start Tuesday, when the contract for the bridge’s construction was signed between the Ministry of Infrastructure, Port Services and Transport and the contractor.
The project was awarded to the joint venture of Construction and Industrial Equipment and Soluciones de Cimentacion through international competitive bidding.
The 18-meter single span composite road bridge was designed by FDL Consult Inc. through the use of geo technical investigation, hydraulic analysis and traffic studies of the immediate vicinity of the structure. The design was reviewed and approved by the US Army Corp of Engineers.
Representative of FDL Consult Inc. Gilbert Fontenard said the bridge will be built to accommodate four lanes of traffic, in keeping with the government’s focus on future planning.
“The cost of the structure of the bridge is not proportional to the number of lanes. In other words, a two-lane bridge does not cost twice that of a single lane, nor will a four-lane cost twice that of a double lane. In that specific instance, the cost of the Bois d’Orange bridge for the four-lane is only 20 percent more than the two-lane at the estimate stage. With the contractor’s bid it is even less.”
Minister for Infrastructure, Port Services and Transport Phillip J Pierre has attempted to allay the fears of businesses within the area of the bridge’s construction that the works will hamper their ability to conduct business.
Pierre has also assured residents that they will have full access to their homes.
“The ministry understands the construction will coincide with the festive season. This inconvenience is unavoidable, as there is a limited time frame before the close of the World Bank funded Hurricane Tomas Emergency Recovery project. Motorists will be heavily affected by traffic delays during construction. We apologise in advance for the frustration and irritation which will likely be felt,” he said.
“Rest assured that together with the traffic department of the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force, we will do everything in our power to reduce the inconvenience.”
A bypass road constructed well ahead of the bridge’s construction will be formally open and utilised to divert normal flow of traffic on the highway as a result of the closure of the existing structure.