Howard Cooke Blvd bridge finally repaired
Motorists traversing along Howard Cooke Boulevard in Montego Bay, St James, will no longer have to worry about a gaping hole which had been in the structure for at least three years.
Three weeks ago, road users complained to The Gleaner about the nuisance caused by the hole and a water-settling problem along the thoroughfare. Some motorists also planned their routes around Howard Cooke Boulevard to bypass the problem.
The National Works carried out repair work on the structure last week.
“What we did was that we welded an iron plate over the exposed section [along the roadway],” explained Janel Ricketts, community relations officer at the National Works Agency’s western regional office. “We also did some extensive drain-cleaning in the area to deal with the matter of the flooding of the water in that area by the KFC outlet.”
Montego Bay-based land developer Mark Kerr-Jarrett is baffled as to why what turned out to be a simple exercise was not carried out earlier.
“What is unfortunate is that the work was not scheduled to take place during COVID, when traffic flows were at a minimum. Had we gotten to put in a bailey bridge to reroute the traffic or reduce it to two lanes of traffic on the eastbound lane, the dislocation would have occurred during the COVID time,” said Kerr-Jarrett.
Although unwilling to speak specifically to the repair work needed to ensure a long-term fix of the bridge in question, Noel Whyte, managing director of Montego Bay-based engineering company N.O. Whyte and Associates Limited, is suggesting a similar approach to what was taken with the city’s Barnett Bridge, which was also a headache before a comprehensive repair was carried out.
“Something similar happened to the Barnett Bridge some time ago. That bridge’s expansion-joint plate was loose and had come out, and it was fixed, so this one should not be a difficult fix, once you know what needs to be done,” said Whyte.