Alternatives to the planned bridge designs
I have just finished reviewing your articles on the new structures to replace Longbird Bridge and Swing Bridge, and am in disbelief.
Two years and 2½ years respectively is the timeline given. I know Bermuda is another world, but this is beyond ludicrous!
Does Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch even know that bridges can be built with carbon fibre and be completely prefabricated?
They are lighter, stronger than steel and do not suffer from corrosion. Because of their weight, any opening mechanisms can be operated by motors that need only a car battery to power them.
These are not complicated spans to bridge. As a matter of fact, they don’t come any simpler. Plus, the support structures are already in place from their much heavier predecessors.
Sure, you would probably reface them to complete the job and make it look nice, but everything is already there.
There are three features that need to happen. The first is they must open. With the closure of Longbird, the whole of Castle Harbour was virtually given to Tucker’s Town.
It removed Frick’s Point from 95 per cent of the boating public.
The only way to get there was down the south shore, or around St David’ Head, both of which cannot be done most of the year in small boats.
With the Swing Bridge over Ferry Reach and Stocks Harbour closed, every commercial fishing boat, tour boat and ferry has to go all the way around Fort St Catherine to use St George’s Harbour.
The second is to use a counterweight system for opening, to avoid using hydraulics, which leak fluid overboard and will deteriorate in our climate.
The third is that both bridges have to be mechanically identical. This way, you need only one set of spare parts.
I would love to know how wide the net was cast to find a builder. We have been given a list of three names from England, and for some reason they all have to work together.
Two firms are “consultants” and one is an architect. What is there to consult? Just get the architects to build it, for heaven’s sake.
The Germans, Swiss, Italians and Austrians have been building bridges over mountains, rivers and valleys for more than 100 years.
Surely one of those countries would love an ultra-simple job such as this. Someone in the Progressive Labour Party needs to google “bridge builders”.
In closing let me say, I have one big worry — this is a capital project, and the PLP’s record on those is a disaster.
They all seem to go 100 per cent over budget, with the exception of the Port Royal Golf Course which was 300 per cent-plus.
I’m truly sorry the One Bermuda Alliance hadn’t dealt with this, because I would have felt a lot safer about my tax dollar. But, hey, that’s just me. It obviously doesn’t bother a large majority of this population.
R. DUNCAN MORAN
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