Celebrating Jamaica 50 - Flat Bridge

Tuesday, May 01, 2012    

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MUCH like many other colonial-erected structures that have withstood the test of time, the Flat Bridge is revered as a national landmark in Jamaica.

The bridge is situated just outside the old capital of Spanish Town, St Catherine, providing the south-east coast with a gateway to the northern coast of the island.

Though its original year of construction is still up for debate, what can be agreed upon is that the 45-metre-long bridge was built in the 18th century by the Spanish making it one of the oldest bridges in the country.

The original bridge was constructed with logs, but with it being constructed over the powerful Rio Cobre, this could not resist the heavy rainfall that was common to the area.

Thus the bridge has undergone massive reconstruction throughout the years with the installation of iron plates to secure the foundation and railings at the sides. The railings have been washed away by the overflow of the river over time.

In the construction of the bridge, it is alleged that all the closely-situated plantations had to offer up a number of slaves dependent on their overall count of captives.

Many of these slaves failed to return to their respective plantations as they were unable to survive the dangerous nature of the job.

From that, various stories have been told of the bridge being haunted or cursed and accredit the number of casualties in the vicinity to this folklore (even one about a mermaid who lives under the bridge).



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