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Funding problems hold up building projects

An artist's impression of what the replacement for the Longbird Bridge between St David's Island on to the Causeway could look like (Photograph submitted)

A lack of funding has slowed plans to replace ageing bridges in the east end, according to the public works minister.

Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch, the Minister of Public Works, said staff were eager to work on the project, but financial constraints had limited how much work could be done.

Colonel Burch said: “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.”

Colonel Burch earlier this year estimated the cost to replace the Swing Bridge, from St David’s to St George’s Island, and Longbird Bridge, which St David’s Island to the Causeway, could reach $100 million.

He added that he was involved in a meeting last week with the Ministry of Finance about the planned arbitration centre in Hamilton in order to move the plan forward.

Colonel Burch said: “We are still working through those challenges – and they are challenges – and as soon as we are able to make an announcement we will do so.”

He added that a Government guarantee was not a part of the plan for the centre.

“The current plan is for it to be fully funded by the developer and then rented by the Government over a number of years to repay the investment to construct it.”

A groundbreaking ceremony for the project, on Parliament Street, was held last July with Chicago-based Milhouse Engineering and Construction unveiled as the firm behind the development.

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Published June 03, 2021 at 7:52 am (Updated June 03, 2021 at 7:51 am)

Funding problems hold up building projects

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