The $2.1m London Creek bridge in Andros is 60 percent completed, the government has announced, and is forecast to be finished by mid-September.
Desmond Bannister, minister of works, said a number of creek ecosystems in Andros had been blocked due to how roads had been constructed.
“The lack of openings to allow for uninterrupted water flow causes severe damage to the natural aquatic ecosystem, including increased sedimentation in the creeks, damage to the health of the mangroves and decrease of the fish larvae export of the lagoon,” Mr Bannister said.
SJK Engineering and Construction Services won the $2.127m contract for the project. The company’s owner, Stephen Knowles, confirmed that the flow of water through the London Creek ecosystem was interrupted by the construction of the road connecting North Andros to Central Andros many years ago.
“The project originally called for the erection of several culverts under the road. A culvert is a structure that allows water to flow under a road, railroad, trail or similar obstruction from one side to the other. However, in the interest of allowing bone fish boats to traverse the creek, a decision was taken to design and construct a reinforced concrete bridge,” he added.
“The bridge is 60 percent completed, and the projected completion date of the bridge will be by mid-September. The entire project, inclusive of the roadworks, should be completed by November. We will need a month or so to do roadworks and it’ll take us a month or so to remove the cofferdam on the opposite side. We have to remove everything so the water can flow naturally through the creek again.”
Mr Knowles added: “My team erected a high bridge so there will be four feet of water, instead of two feet of water, under the bridge, allowing clearance for any type of bonefish boat to travel underneath. This initiative is good for the environment because fish love to swim under bridges. Another benefit is the bridge we contracted is a lot longer. We were originally going to do 150 feet but the bridge will be 200 feet.
“The erection of the London Creek bridge is designed to improve water flow in the area and allow the natural regeneration of the ecosystem. The safety of our environment and the well-being of our ecosystem is a top priority of the Ministry of Public Works. Our teams are working diligently to ensure the construction is being done in a timely fashion.”
Nicholl’s Town resident, Alfred Wallace, said of the new construction: “I think everyone on the island will be grateful because everyone can flow through the island easily, and it’s good for the environment. The government erected this bridge quickly, and I think they’re doing a good job. I’m quite satisfied with the progress here in Andros.”
Tareno White, another Nicholl’s Town resident, added: “This bridge is good for the animals that inhabit the mangroves surrounding the bridge, and also really good for the water flow. This bridge should have been completed a long time ago by the previous government, but everything in its time. Mr Bannister doing some good things for the people living in Andros.”