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Government seeks firm to make Swing Bridge repairs

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Three years to go: the Swing Bridge connects St David’s Island to St George’s Island on the boundary of Ferry Reach and Stocks Harbour (File photograph

The Ministry of Public Works has launched a search for a firm to carry out repair works on an ageing St George’s bridge.

A request for quotation, recently published on the government procurement website, called for companies able to partially reconstruct deck slab on the Swing Bridge.

RFQ documents noted that repair work on the decking, including new concrete, was completed in 2003.

“Our test digs showed that the top surface of the troughing is in good condition, and we expect that the concrete-steel bond will be as described during the 2002/3 works,” they said.

The documents added that while the top surface of the bridge’s steel troughing, which lay below the concrete, was believed to be in good condition, the soffit on the underside of the bridge was “extensively corroded”.

The selected firm would be expected to demolish and dispose of the existing asphalt and concrete infill, as well as demolish a portion of the curb and sidewalk without damaging the steel of the bridge.

The asphalt was not expected to be fit for reuse and drains should be plugged to prevent material falling into Ferry Reach.

Three years to go: plans included in a request for quotation for repairs to the Swing Bridge (Image from procurement documents)

The firm would then be required to reinstate the concrete deck, including a tie-in to the drain pipes, along with the curb and sidewalks.

Submissions must be received by 3pm on June 27, with the agreement to be executed by August 26.

The Swing Bridge, which links St George’s with St David’s, was first built in 1964.

It had been predicted that the Swing Bridge and the nearby Longbird Bridge would reach the end of their useful lives in 2021.

Designs for the replacement bridges were unveiled in 2018. However, the project was subsequently put on the back burner because of economic challenges faced by the Government.

Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch, the Minister of Public Works, said earlier this year that preliminary work on a new Swing Bridge would get under way at a cost of $2.7 million, although construction will not start until next year.

Colonel Burch said: “We have about three years before the Swing Bridge comes to the end of its natural life, and so we’ve allocated money over the next three years to cover that.”

Work to replace Longbird Bridge, however, was said to be “on pause until funding is available”.

“In 2021 we did rehabilitation work on Swing Bridge and also in 2023,” he said in February.

“Most of this work was carried out by people who have designed the new bridge, and so we’ve been able to extend it’s life for three years, but the indications are that you will not be able to extend it any further.

“That’s why we’re taking steps to provide funding for Swing Bridge.

“The aim was to try to do both bridges together because that’s cheaper, but the funding is not there so we’re doing Swing Bridge, which is the most critical.“

Separately, the bridge at the end of the Causeway was closed for a period last Wednesday to allow for the replacement of deck panels after holes appeared in the structure’s surface.

A spokesman for the public works ministry said then that although the bridge was “actively” monitored, one panel deteriorated more rapidly since it was last checked from land in October.

He added at the time: “All of the bridges remain safe thanks to their modular design which allows for the easy replacement of individual parts.”

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Published May 27, 2024 at 7:53 am (Updated May 27, 2024 at 7:52 am)

Government seeks firm to make Swing Bridge repairs

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