September 23, 2022
A new bridge design that incorporates opportunitiesfor Bahamian entrepreneurs was presented at a Town Hall Meeting Thursday,September 22, 2022 at St. Patrick’s Lodge Hall, Hatchet Bay.
During the livestreamed event the Minister of Works and Utilities, the Hon. AlfredSears; the Hon. Clay Sweeting, Minister of Agriculture, Marine Resources andFamily Island Affairs; island administrators, representatives of the Ministry ofWorks, Town Planning Board, the Bridge Authority, Local Government, LambertKnowles and other consultants, and residents of Eleuthera discussed plans for theproposed replacement of the Glass Window Bridge (GWB) in North Eleuthera.Minister Sears termed the meeting very “successful” consultation and attendanceby local stakeholders and virtual participants.
He said Mr. Knowles has assembled a world-class team of bridge designers whohave put together a design that will turn the GWB “into a symbol of resilience,sustainability and also a place of entertainment and relaxation where Bahamianbusinesses can come and share in the wonderful goods of Eleuthera to theinternational travelling public as well as the residents in Eleuthera.
“We’re speaking now with Caribbean Development Bank with respect to funding;the design is now completed, there is also interest in PPP’s. Within the next twomonths we should have a funding pathway and then of course we will move onthe procurement. Once the funding is in place we will announce a date.”
“It is not only a look out point, we are approaching this project as an enterprisewhere the people who live in Eleuthera would have the same opportunities thatthe people in South would have as the Disney Project would have, but it would bemore significant than Disney because this project would be owned by Bahamianpeople -- entrepreneurs, performers and culinary artists.
“Eleuthera is one of the places in the Commonwealth of the Bahamas wheredevelopment is taking place very rapidly. It is one of the most uniquecommunities in our country; it is the fifth largest economy within theCommonwealth of the Bahamas. We have some of the wealthiest industrialistswith homes in Eleuthera; we also have booming Bahamian business resortsthroughout Eleuthera.”
The GWD represents a place where we “can build opportunities for Bahamianbusinesses, Bahamian entrepreneurs to showcase the imagination of theBahamian crafts persons, also to showcase the culinary skills as well as theextraordinary culinary dishes of Bahamian cuisine,” he said.
Although “spectacular” Minister Sears said the current one-lane bridge is“dangerous” and unable to facilitate the transport of freight from the north to thesouth of the island because its carrying capacity is only 12 tonnes -- anything over12 tonnes cannot be transported over the bridge.
He noted other challenges and informed that the bridge is not fulfilling thepotential that it has for the development of Eleuthera.
Using a Power Point presentation, Mr. Knowles introduced the design team,technical aspects of the built design and various options considered for the newbridge.
He said the proposed bridge will be unique; a picture opportunity and a venue tohost an event. It will have a park, security, rest rooms, parking, a location for foodtrucks to sell crafts and food; and topography with different elevation.
During the question and answer segment, Minister Sears said a decision has notyet been made regarding a bridge toll on the major undertaking.
“It is a project which multilateral bodies and private sector investors haveexpressed an interest in participating in the funding. It is a project that once wehave the community by-in the government is committed to building a world classproduction at this location.” Construction is expected to take place on theproposed bridge from 2023-2026 at an estimated cost of $50-$60 million.
The GWB was built in 1990 and provides the only vehicular link between Northand South Eleuthera.
News date : 09/23/2022 Category : Politics