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Land ownership issue raised over Swing Bridge plan

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Significant consideration: the planned location for the proposed replacement Swing Bridge, which connects St George’s Island and St David’s Island, is intended to be built just east of the existing bridge (Image from planning documents)

Plans to replace an ageing East End bridge may have hit a snag after the Bermuda National Trust said they own land earmarked for the structure.

According to a planning objection filed this month, the charity said that plans showed the proposed replacement for the Swing Bridge partially using BNT property on Stokes Point.

“Based on the drawings submitted, the proposed location where the bridge meets the land on the north side is partially the property of the Bermuda National Trust, and we have not been contacted for consent for this development on our land,” the charity said.

“We find it astonishing that the project should have progressed as far as a planning application without ownership of the land being determined first.

“We suggest that the application should be withdrawn until an agreement has been reached between Government and the Bermuda National Trust.”

Under scrutiny: this map highlights parcels of land on the northern side of the Swing Bridge, which connects St George’s Island and St David’s Island (Image from planning objection)

Plans to replace the Swing Bridge, which links St David’s Island and St George’s Island, were recently submitted to the Department of Planning alongside plans to replace the similarly ageing Longbird Bridge, which connects St David’s to The Main, Bermuda’s largest island, via the Causeway.

The Swing Bridge, built in 1964, is considered beyond economic repair despite major rehabilitation work in 2002 and 2017.

The documents proposed that the Swing Bridge replacement be erected to the immediate east of the existing bridge so that traffic to and from St George’s is not disrupted.

An environmental-impact statement filed with the application said that land ownership was a “significant consideration” in determining where the replacement bridge should be built, claiming the Government owned the land immediately east of the existing structure.

“The Government owns the roadway on either end of the existing Swing Bridge and the Severn Bridge,” the EIS said. “It also owns the land immediately to the east of the existing Swing Bridge at both ends, but does not own any land on the northern side of the Severn Bridge.

“Erecting a new bridge at the Severn Bridge location would therefore necessitate land purchase, driving up costs.

“The location of the Severn Bridge is a more exposed location, so this would have to be factored into the design and safety elements.

“For these reasons, this proposed site was selected as being the best option for the Swing Bridge Replacement.”

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Published December 09, 2023 at 7:57 am (Updated December 09, 2023 at 8:13 am)

Land ownership issue raised over Swing Bridge plan

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