Swing Bridge may get a hi-tech replacement
Replacing the crumbling Swing Bridge with a hydraulic counterpart could provide a “50-year fix”, Craig Cannonier suggested last night at a town hall meeting in St George.
“I am very much in favour of a hydraulic bridge,” the Minister of Public Works said, citing benefits such as its simple mechanisms and quiet functionality.
The Swing Bridge — which links St David's to St George's — has been closed to ships for two years. Motorists can cross it one lane at a time, and a weight limit is in place due to the structure's fragile state.
Fixing the problem has been estimated at $20 million.
“The maintenance of the Swing Bridge is going to be astronomical as we move forward. It is an old bridge with old technology,” Mr Cannonier said.
“If we fix the Swing Bridge, we'll probably have a maximum of 30 years [lifespan]. I'd much prefer we get a 50-year span for a few million more dollars and a little more time.”
In the meantime, Mr Cannonier said that a steelwork contract would be awarded in the next week for a company to strengthen the undercarriage of the Swing Bridge.
He estimated that the fortification works would take eight to ten weeks, adding that the weight limit would be lifted once they were finished.
To fix the traffic issue, the minister said that he was looking into the possibility of transferring outbound traffic from St George's via the Severn Bridge at Stokes Point.
Another feasibility study involved the removal of one of the Swing Bridge's pillars to increase its 63-foot span, allowing larger ships to pass through.
Hosted by Quinell Francis, the Mayor of St George, the meeting at Penno's Wharf also featured presentations by Jeff Baron, the Minister of National Security, and Michael Fahy, the Minister of Tourism, Transport and Municipalities.