The Fishing Hole Road Causeway in Grand Bahama pictured on Friday. (Photo from The Office of the Prime Minister's Facebook page)
By RASHAD ROLLE
Tribune Staff Reporter
PRIME Minister Dr Hubert Minnis officially opened the Fishing Hole Road Causeway in Grand Bahama Friday, marking the end to what he called a long and difficult chapter for Grand Bahama residents.
The causeway connects West and East Grand Bahama and is the main access route between West Grand Bahama communities and Freeport.
The original causeway was built in 1957 but Dr Minnis explained that devastating storm surges of past hurricanes caused large sections of the road to be washed away and made daily commuting difficult for motorists.
Before giving official remarks Dr Minnis attacked Opposition leader Philip “Brave” Davis and other members of the opposition who visited the causeway on Thursday.
“What I saw yesterday, the leader of the Opposition and the Opposition as a new low, never seen in the history of The Bahamas, an Opposition leader touring a facility and declaring that they are officially opening the bridge, never in the history,” he said. “We are in the new norm and they are taking us to a new low.”
In 2015 under the former Christie administration a contract was awarded to All Bahamas Construction to replace the Fishing Hole Road embankment with a raised causeway.
Dr Minnis said: “With the change of scopes the project required additional funding. The situation was exacerbated, due to the combination of a number of events, including but not limited to the delays and devastation caused by the past three major hurricanes, including Matthew in October 2016, Irma in 2017, and most recently Dorian in September 2019. Unfortunately residents were left to suffer through very difficult driving conditions. Prior to Hurricane Dorian, the Fishing Hole Road Bridge was substantially completed and authorities were planning to officially open the bridge in September of 2019. Even though, Hurricane Dorian did not affect the concrete bridge structure which was a testament to the quality of the work, the approach asphalt roads and side slopes were destroyed. After witnessing the affect of Hurricane Dorian we decided to replace the asphalt roads with 8” thick reinforced concrete rigid pavement, and the side slopes and shoulders with 6” thick concrete making the whole structure more integral and climate resilient for future storm events.”
Dr Minnis said residents now have a “modern designed, resilient, concrete Trestle Bridge, spanning 900ft across the Hawksbill creek with a life span of 50 years, sitting 12 feet above the mean sea level, and able to withstand hurricanes up to category 5 intensity.”
The total cost of construction is $9.2m, he said.