Cast Iron Bridge — Spanish Town

Devaro Bolton

Tuesday, May 15, 2012    

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DESIGNED by Thomas Wilson and constructed by Walker and Company, the Cast Iron Bridge stands as another momument that is highly revered in Jamaican history.

It is alleged that the Cast Iron Bridge in Spanish Town is one of the two remaining bridges that were constructed by the company.

Built in 1801, the Cast Iron Bridge is generally accepted as the oldest bridge of its kind in the western hemisphere.

At a cost suspected to be £4,000, the bridge spans the width of the Rio Cobre and is over 80-feet long. Its four arched ribs rest on large concrete structures as well as being built with cast iron frames.

The Jamaica National Heritage Trust (JNHT) declared the bridge as a National Momument though it is considered to be in an endangered state.

In 1998 the bridge was placed on the World Momuments Watch list, which is a non-profit organisation that pushes the awareness and preservation of manmade cultural landmarks around the world. Despite restoration work on the bridge being initiated in 2004, the first phase of restoration was completed in 2010.

There have been talks of the bridge being registered as a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), but that is yet to come to fruition.

The Cast Iron Bridge is available solely for pedestrian traffic as the tests of time are suspected to have taken a serious toll on the structure of the 87-ton landmark, thus restricting vehicular use.



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