By NATARIO McKENZIE
Tribune Business Reporter
ELEUTHERA residents have "had to improvise" to facilitate movement between the island's north and south after the "vital commercial link" of the Glass Window Bridge was closed by high swells.
Ivan Ferguson, the Family Island administrator for North Eleuthera, told Tribune Business: "As a result of the closure of the bridge, and also as a result of the huge cavity that separates North and Central Eleuthera, the local government practitioners initiated - along with the Member of Parliament - the idea to create a makeshift dock from the Glass Window restaurant, which is immediately north of the Glass Window Bridge.
"That restaurant has become a commercial hub for persons who are embarking from there to go to Gregory Town, where they disembark and go about their business."
Mr Ferguson added: "That dock is almost completed and is facilitating transportation of workers, passengers, tourists and anyone wishing to traverse between North and Central or South Eleuthera. A ferry service has now been initiated also. Local boaters from Gregory Town, The Current and neighbouring communities are now transporting persons. We have absolutely had to improvise."
He said the historic Glass Window Bridge is a vital commercial link between the northern and southern parts of Eleuthera, and added: "Many of the workers employed on Harbour Island, and even in the government service, are employed in businesses north of the bridge.
"It does impact those persons who work on Harbour Island and mainland North Eleuthera. Due to the fact that the weather conditions are still prevailing and we have no idea when it will subside, we took this course of action."
Desmond Bannister, minister of works, yesterday said the Government is considering the construction of a new bridge to replace the Glass Window Bridge. This, he added, could cost $30-$40 million.
He added that engineers in Eleuthera have reported that the "shocking conditions" experienced over the weekend have resulted in extensive damage to the bridge and connecting roadways.
The Glass Window Bridge had to be closed on Sunday, with residents of North Eleuthera being advised by the National Emergency Management Agency and Family Island officials, to stay away from the area due to large and dangerous swells.