Time come for Rock bridge to be fixed, reopened

Letters to the Editor

Time come for Rock bridge to be fixed, reopened

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

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Dear Editor,

The closure of the Rock Bridge in Falmouth, Trelawny, is having a devastating negative effect on Falmouth and surrounding communities.

Commercial activities in the once-bustling community of Rock have been dying a slow and painful death. Approaching the Christmas holidays, pedestrian and vehicular traffic movement are going to be a nightmare. It has started already, with traffic coming into Falmouth, via the Market Street entrance, backing up for an inordinately long time, especially on a Wednesday morning. What is even more frightening and dangerous is the fact that pedestrians and vehicular traffic are sharing the same space, especially that corridor leading to the municipal market.

The reopening of the Rock Bridge matters, and there will be monumental consequences for commerce, businesses, life, and property if it remains closed for much longer.

I say this against the background that Falmouth has only three entrances — the Rock bridge, Market Street and Foreshore Road. With the closure of the Rock bridge it leaves only two entrances through which a natural waterway runs that drains the overflow of the Martha Brae River at the foot of Market Street to the top of Foreshore Road above Beta Price Hardware and into the sea at Half Moon Bay.

I am painting this picture so graphically because any rainfall above three inches in a 24-hour period, as in the case of hurricanes Ivan and Gilbert, will render both entrances impassable, thus cutting off the town of Falmouth for days.

We must also remember, too, that the newly built Falmouth cruise ship pier has not yet been tested by any adverse weather condition such as hurricane or a tropical storm.

The prolonged closure of the bridge is a disaster waiting to happen. The stakeholders who are responsible to plan and execute strategies to have the bridge reopened must move with some alacrity to remedy the situation. The response can't be that there is a lack of funding; it has to be treated as an emergency and the requisite funding found.

I believe if Trelawny Northern, in which the bridge is located, was a marginal Jamaica Labour Party seat that the Government would have to defend, funding would have been found — and the converse is true for the People's National Party — as the bridge did not fall into disrepair overnight. The situation is further exacerbated with the building and dumping on the Falmouth wind morass, which acts like a sponge to sap up excess drainage water from the town.

With the distinct possibility of dangerous flooding in the town, the safest exit from the town, which is Rock bridge, must be fixed and reopened.

The communities and people who are now adversely affected have to now step up their game and demand from their Member of Parliament, councillor, the Trelawny Municipal Corporation, National Works Agency, and the Government that time come for the bridge to be fixed and reopened. We will not just remain quiet, roll over, and die.

Fernandez Smith

Former Jamaica Labour Party Councillor


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