KINGSTON, Jamaica: Residents of Ginger House and Cornwall Barracks in East Portland now have easier access to their homes following the construction of a new $7.1 million swing bridge.
The bridge, which was officially opened by the Honourable Desmond McKenzie, Minister of Local Government and Community Development, will serve some 1500 residents in and around the environs of the Rio Grande Valley.
“Don’t swing on it. It is for the purpose of walking, not swinging. It is your investment,” said Minister McKenzie at the hand-over on November 6.
“The actual work of the construction started in 2018. Not only was the construction of the bridge completed on time and within budget, but the work also provided opportunities for many people in the community who gained employment during the period of construction.”
The Minister also thanked the residents for their patience in awaiting the construction of the new connection, and stated that he was relieved that they would no longer use unconventional methods – including wading through the river – to get home.
The original bridge was reportedly washed away during heavy rains in 2014.
Councillor Irvin Brown, whose has responsibility for the Fellowship Division, described the handing over as a “proud day” for the community. He also shared that economic activities, especially for the farmers, would return.
Funding for the new bridge was made available by the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development.
“The bridge falls under the direct control of the Portland Municipal Corporation. It is a part of the government’s thrust to use local government to improve lives in the various communities across the country,” Minister McKenzie added.
He also spoke to the poor condition of the main thoroughfare leading in to the community of Ginger House.
“I am giving the assurance to the community that we will endeavor to at least make driving a little bit easier than it presently is on the road. Through the Ministry of Local Government, we will do everything that is humanly possible to ensure that you are able to access your living conditions in an easy way.”