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Repairs carried out after holes appear in East End bridge

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Holes have appeared in the road surface on the bridge coming off the Causeway heading towards the airport (Photograph by Jeremy Deacon)

A closure took place yesterday on the bridge at the end of the Causeway after holes appeared in the surface of the structure.

Work was completed by 2.45pm with deck panels replaced, the Government said, and the bridge was reopened.

Photographs taken by Jeremy Deacon, Chief Reporter for The Royal Gazette, showed the ocean was clearly visible through holes in the bridge’s surface.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Public Works said later: “The ministry has been actively monitoring the bridge.

“It was last inspected from land in October 2023 and again from the water just last week, on May 15.

“During these inspections, several panels requiring replacement were identified and we are currently in the process of arranging for their installation.

“The panel in question has deteriorated more rapidly since the last inspection in October.

“While the integrity of the bridge remains intact, there is concern that a vehicle wheel could potentially punch through the thin plate.

“The deck panel will be replaced with a spare unit to address this immediately.”

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

“Today, the bridge will be closed for a few hours to replace the deck panels, ensuring minimal disruption.

“The ministry’s team is mobilised and will complete the repair today, ensuring the bridge remains safe for use.”

Plans to replace ageing bridges in Bermuda have long been discussed, but financial challenges in recent years slowed the progress.

Craig Cannonier, the shadow public works minister, said it was time the bridge was permanently fixed.

He said: “It is extremely dangerous for motorists, especially a bike — this bridge is showing wear and tear, and it has a massive bow in it.

“I’m glad they got out and fixed it but they are only responding after someone reported it.

“With the budget cuts, we can see our infrastructure is crumbling.

“We really need to pay closer attention to infrastructure and ensuring public safety.”

Thomas Harvey, a construction and trucking company owner in the East End, said in March that there were dangerously heavy vehicles on the roads with uncovered loads of sand and aggregate.

The Government said then that the Transport Control Department would conduct a “thorough investigation” after reports of unauthorised dumpster trailers being used to moved aggregate.

Mr Cannonier added: “When we allow the containers with aggregate without being tested for their weight, we are playing with people’s lives. A catastrophe can happen every day.

“We have to do a better job of policing the trucks that go across the bridge because with any extra stress on them we can have a serious problem.”

Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch, the Minister of Public Works, brushed aside criticisms, saying that Mr Cannonier should be aware as a former minister of the protocol for the inspection of bridges.

He claimed that ministry teams had been “vigilant in monitoring the bridge in question through frequent inspections both on land and from the sea”.

However, he accepted that his staff had been caught out by the recent deterioration, which had occurred “more rapidly than anticipated”.

Colonel Burch said: “Recognising the potential risk to vehicles, we took immediate action and replaced the affected deck panel with a spare unit within hours of being notified. This prompt response ensured that any potential danger was swiftly mitigated.

“To ensure minimal disruption, the bridge was temporarily closed for a few hours to complete the necessary deck panel replacements.

“Public safety is our utmost priority, and we have robust processes in place to promptly address any issues.”

He called on the public to report any observed deficiencies by e-mailing structures@gov.bm.

Holes have appeared in the road surface on the bridge coming off the Causeway heading towards the airport (Photograph by Jeremy Deacon)
Holes have appeared in the road surface on the bridge coming off the Causeway heading towards the airport (Photograph by Jeremy Deacon)

UPDATE: this article has been updated with remarks from the shadow public works minister and the latest information from the Government

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Published May 23, 2024 at 8:06 am (Updated May 23, 2024 at 8:06 am)

Repairs carried out after holes appear in East End bridge

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