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Input sought on East End replacement bridges

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An artist’s impression of what the replacement for the Longbird Bridge from St David’s Island on to the Causeway and The Main will look like (Photograph submitted)

The Government asked organisations to show how they could help fund the replacement of Longbird Bridge and Swing Bridge, according to documents published on its website.

A request for information issued through the Ministry of Public Works also appealed for fabricators, project managers and suppliers from around the world to express interest in the projects, as the existing structures in St George’s were both expected to reach the end of their useful lives in 2021.

It said detailed designs for the bridges were almost complete and a package of drawings for tenders was scheduled to be published this year. A separate request for proposals invited bids from contractors to demolish and remove Longbird Bridge, which has been closed to traffic for more than a decade.

The public RFI for the replacement project was issued on June 7 and an accompanying document, titled Moving Bermuda Forward, explained: “The Ministry of Public Works, Government of Bermuda, intends to replace two of their main access bridges.

“The new bridges will be structural landmarks to be used by locals and visitors for years to come. The ministry is looking to partner with international experts to work on these interesting projects.”

It added: “After the successful completion of an options study and a feasibility study, the design team has now entered into the detailed design phase.

“This design phase will result in a tender drawing set scheduled to be made public in the third quarter of 2019.

“The Ministry of Public Works is looking forward to bringing new members to the construction team to finance, fabricate and build these bridges.”

Interested companies were also told that limited resources meant most construction materials were imported to the island.

The document added: “The local labour is relatively expensive and specialisation in bridge construction and complex infrastructure is limited.

“Hence, the ministry believes that high-level prefabrication will enable this project to achieve an economical solution and help reduce construction risk.”

The RFI, which was posted on the procurement notices page of the Government’s website, said that the ministry wanted to gather “information about the marketplace” to help determine “future purchasing options or requirements”.

It explained that the ministry sought “new members to supplement the design team in regard to financing, fabricating and building two new bridges”.

The document invited expressions of interest from disciplines including general and professional contractors, bridge or steelwork fabricators, financiers, project management, independent checkers, trades and suppliers.

It added: “This is an opportunity for suppliers to enter into a dialogue with the Ministry of Public Works, present their capabilities/experience, and gain a better understanding of an exciting upcoming opportunity.

“The ministry intends to use information gathered during this RFI process to guide the procurement strategy for the bridges’ supply/fabrication/construction.”

Respondents have until 3pm on August 30 to submit information.

It was announced in December 2017 that three UK companies, Ramboll, the lead consultant, as well as Knight Architects and Eadon Consultants, would work together on the bridge replacements.

Blueprints for the structures were unveiled last September when it was thought construction on the crossings would begin this summer. It was estimated then that the Longbird Bridge on to St David’s Island from the Causeway and The Main, the largest island in the Bermuda archipelago, would take two years to complete.

Construction time for the Swing Bridge from St David’s to St George’s Island was expected to be 30 months.

When asked about costs during a public information session when the plans were revealed, in September, Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch, the Minister of Public Works, believed it was too early to provide an estimate

He said: “We’re not prepared to do that until we have the detailed designs for the bridge and know what materials we are going to use.”

The separate RFP for the demolition of Longbird Bridge was issued on June 10 and has a submission deadline of 3pm on July 19, 2019.

It said the public works ministry was “inviting tenders from experienced contracting companies for the demolition, removal and safe disposal of the Longbird Bridge superstructure, piers, approach slabs, walls and services”.

The RFP explained that the present structure was built by the US Army Corps of Engineers and was officially opened in December 1952.

It said: “When the US Naval Air Station left Bermuda in 1995, they handed over maintenance responsibility to Nasa, who left Bermuda in 1998 and abdicated responsibility.

“The Government of Bermuda’s requests for urgent maintenance went unanswered, and the Government assumed responsibility for the bridge, by default ,in December 1998.

“Rehabilitation works were completed in 2001, but by 2007 the bridge had once again fallen into disrepair.

“In May 2007, the bridge was closed to marine traffic, and vehicular traffic was reduced to one lane.

“On July 31, 2007, the bridge was permanently closed, with vehicles diverted to the two newly constructed panel bridges which are still in use today.”

The RFP said the agreement was expected to be carried out on September 30.

The Royal Gazette asked for information about the proposed budgets for the projects, if the public works ministry had revised its timetable for the construction scheme and further details about how the bridge replacements will be financed.

A government spokeswoman said the ministry declined to comment.

To view the Moving Bermuda Forward document in full, click on the PDF link under “Related Media”

An artist’s rendition of what the replacement to the Swing Bridge from St David’s Island to St George’s Island will look like (Photograph submitted)