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A bridge too far for Budget as new Swing Bridge put on hold

Swing Bridge (File Photograph)

A plan to replace the Swing Bridge in St George’s has been put on the back-burner because of the financial crisis faced by the Government.

But Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch, the Minister of Public Works, said $400,000 had been earmarked in this year’s Budget for repair work at the bridge.

He admitted: “Current budget constraints cannot effect the needed replacement of the full bridge in the short term.”

The Government has said for years that the Swing Bridge, which links St David’s and St George’s islands, and Longbird Bridge, which links St David’s to the Causeway, needed replacement, but work has been stalled by a lack of cash.

Colonel Burch last year estimated the cost to replace both bridges could reach $100 million.

He added: “My engineers are chomping at the bit to get going, but funding is the biggest challenge in relation to the bridges.

“We have been doing some behind the scenes work on them in terms of environmental studies and infrastructure improvements at the locations, but there is no funding at the moment to replace the bridges.

“We will be spending some money in this financial year to stabilise and maintain the bailey bridges at Longbird Bridge, but until we get funding, we are marking time.”

A request for proposals from the public works ministry issued last month asked for an engineering firm to carry out a “detailed condition assessment” on the Swing Bridge.

The RFP added: “Following the condition assessment, the successful proponent will use their findings to analyse the structure and determine an appropriate load rating for the bridge.”

It was earlier predicted that the two bridges would reach the end of their useful lives in 2021.

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Published March 12, 2022 at 7:19 am (Updated March 12, 2022 at 7:19 am)

A bridge too far for Budget as new Swing Bridge put on hold

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