Categorized | Featured, National News

Bridge Toll Doubled

PI Bridge

Tolls for the Sir Sidney Poitier Bridge are expected to increase by one hundred per cent for private vehicles effective March 1.

The $1 bridge toll will increase to $2 as announced by Chairman of the Bridge Authority of the Bahamas Rory Higgs as he spoke to the bridge refurbishment contract signing on Monday morning.

“There is a price to pay with all of the refurbishment work that has to be done and there is a price to pay with all the maintenance and operational expenses,” he said.

“Notwithstanding the fact that the western bridge was built in 1998 at a cost of $21.6 million and operational costs for both bridges have increased considerable over the years, there have been no tool increases. As a matter of fact, the toll for private vehicles has been set at $1 for over 17-years now.

“Additionally, total bond commitments after the $6 million recently put in place privately to fund refurbishment now amount to $29 million. As a consequence, effective March 1, 2016 the tolls will be increased to $2 for private vehicles. It is with great regret that we now have to implement a toll increase, but an increase in no longer avoidable. Our market research has shown that even with this increase, the new toll amounts will still be considerably lower than the tolls for similar operations throughout the region. We remain committed to providing safe and cost effective passage while ensuring financial feasibility and sustainability for the benefit of all stakeholders.

Mr. Higgs said, the decision came after lengthy consultation between stakeholders to hike the price, the first price increase since 1999.

“All of the inspections and reports that the Bridge Authority received from expert engineers, including the recommendations received form the Ministry of Works, have led the Bridge Authority to conclude that it is safe and cost effective to have the eastern bridge undergo immediate, comprehensive refurbishment with a scheduled replacement for 2042,” he said.

“We have been assured by the experts and the Ministry of Works that with the prescribed refurbishment the life expectancy of the bridge would be extended by at least 28-years. After having concluded what options are best, we then conducted a tender exercise for the selection of a contractor who would be engaged to complete the refurbishment work. At the end of that tender exercise, Island Site Development was selected”

The contract to Island Site Development was worth $5.3 million.

The refurbishment exercise is set to extend the life of the eastern bridge by 25 years and then it will be replaced.

A definitive date was not given on exactly when those renovations will begin but there will be a two week mobilization period as soon as funds are gathered.

On hand for that announcement was Prime Minster Perry Christie, who said he believes the increase will ensure the security and safety of the thousands of employees coupled with the millions of tourists who mainly patronize the Atlantis Paradise Island Resort.

The prime minister highlighted that the contract signing was significant and that his government is devoted to infrastructure development.

“This is a very significant part of the growth of our country,” he said.

“It is important that we pay close attention to it. It important that our relationship with the hotel owners on Paradise Island becomes significant where we are at one when it comes to protecting the future of this island.”

Even bigger news came from Labor Minister Shane Gibson.

He announced that the refurbishment exercise would provide jobs for 30 to 40 Bahamians.

He said funding was provided through a private placement through the Central Bank of The Bahamas.


PI Bridge


Written by Jones Bahamas

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