Grand Bahama: Government moving to repair Fishing Hole Bridge and service road
#FREEPORT, Grand Bahama — The government is taking progressive steps to address the poor road conditions on the new overpass bridge and on the service road at the Fishing Hole Road that leads from Freeport into West Grand Bahama.During a press conference at the bridge on Saturday, February 15, 2020 Minister of State for Grand Bahama, Senator the Hon. Kwasi Thompson called the work being carried out on the service road and the bridge “the beginning of the end of the process.”
“What has happened is that this bridge was finished before the storm in 2019,” explained Minister Thompson. “Unfortunately, the storm destroyed the ramps to this bridge. Today, we can definitively say that work has begun to complete the process.
“We know that the public has been very agitated to having this bridge completed, so we wanted to make it a point to come back to the public and ask them to be patient for a few more weeks, but work is being done now to bring some resolution and some relief for the people of Grand Bahama.”
Work crews were out at the bridge on Saturday morning working on the service road, in preparation for use on Monday morning. Once the service road was ready over the weekend, the bridge was closed off, so that work on the repair of the road could begin.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Hon. K. Peter Turnquest said that the problems at the bridge and on the service road had been a source of angst and inconvenience for West Grand Bahama in particular and for Grand Bahama on the whole during the periods when the bridge becomes inaccessible, therefore a hindrance for people to get to work.
“We are very pleased to have reached at this point where we have a design and the contractors are on site to being this final phase,” said Minister Turnquest.
“We appreciate the patience of the Grand Bahama public as we go through the process of trying to find the correct solution. We have other capital works in Grand Bahama that need to be focused on and completed, so we want to make sure that this project is completed properly so that we won’t have to come back to this.
“As I’ve said before, the Government of The Bahamas is committed to Grand Bahama. We are not going to leave Grand Bahama behind, and we will do what needs to be done to ensure that the services and the conveniences that the Grand Bahama public deserves are delivered as soon as possible.”
Wolfgang Geiger President of ABC Construction in Freeport, Grand Bahama, and General Contractors for the bridge at Fishing Hole Road, told the media that the bridge was completed and set to officially open on September 21, 2019. However, Category 5 Hurricane Dorian destroyed both ramps on both sides of the bridge. Storm surge removed most of the asphalt on the new bridge.
“All of the studies from scientists they never predicted 23 foot storm surge in this area,” said Geiger. “The highest was 10 or 11 feet. The bridge is 12 feet high, so theoretically, we shouldn’t have this situation, but nobody predicted the kind of storm we had in September 2019.”
According to Geiger, it would take about six to eight weeks for the repairs on the bridge to be completed and reopened.
Minister of State for Disaster Preparedness Management and Reconstruction, Iram Lewis, says that one of the long term goals of the Minnis Administration in such capital projects is to build resilience, particularly following Hurricane Dorian, and one of the ways to do that is to consider risk identification. He added that once risk has been identified, everything is done to reduce that risk.
“One of the risks we identified, especially for this structure was that washout was a reality,” explained Minister Lewis. “In order to mitigate against that and to reduce that risk and build resilience, the decision is to replace the asphalt approach ramp with reinforced concrete. That should stand up under much more stringent conditions that asphalt.
“The design had been completed by the Ministry of Works. A change order has been issued to the contractor. So work has begun.”
According to Mr. Lewis, Cabinet has approved $1M for the repairs to the ramp.
FBI and Bahamas looking into woman’s death
#TheBahamas, March 17, 2023 – The FBI is investigating a woman’s ‘suspicious’ death on a Carnival Cruise ship in February. The unnamed woman and her husband boarded the Carnival Sunshine on February 27th, for a trip to the Bahamas, but she was dead before they arrived in the port in The Bahamas.
The FBI said Carnival’s team had administered life saving measures when the woman was reported unresponsive, but they were unsuccessful. The body and the woman’s husband were released to the Bahamian authorities when the cruise arrived in the country.
In a statement shared with US media houses, Carnival Cruises claimed the death has been a natural one. The Nassau Guardian said a source told them the police findings had concurred with that assessment saying it was a “normal sudden death of a tourist who wasn’t feeling well.”
The FBI was waiting for the cruise and when it got back to South Carolina on March 4th, they immediately boarded and began to investigate the room based on ‘evidence of a crime.’ The FBI also searched the couple’s car.
No updates have been shared to contradict the currently established cause of death.
Why Sargassum Matters
#TheBahamas, March 17, 2023 – “If you don’t like it, go to another beach!” Is what Aaron John, an Education Officer from The Bahamas National Trust jokingly tells our news team about sargassum blooms; his quip, motivated by the necessity of nature when pit against the notion that there is a real threat when the stinky seaweed makes its annual appearance.
John can admit, he says, that Sargassum isn’t very pretty but life isn’t all about aesthetics and in this instance that ugly patch serves a purpose.
“We love our sandy beaches, but in order to keep them we need Sargassum. When storms come, they wash away all the sand off the beach but sargassum acts as a mulch to protect the sand from water erosion. It doesn’t look good, it doesn’t feel good but we need it.”
He said it also provides a habitat for small crustaceans, crabs, and insects that are all necessary to our ecosystem and islanders have found use for the weed.
“Historically, (in The Bahamas) we have been using sargassum as fertilizer, especially in the family Islands as far back as I know,” he said. “Birds don’t go on the beach unless there is Sargassum and what do they do? they feed – it’s beautiful.”
He encouraged residents to just leave it be if they came across it.
Sargassum isn’t harmful to humans, except for people with respiratory issues who may find the rotten egg smell triggers asthma. Despite this, it’s not advisable to walk through the weeds which may hide sharp rocks and bottles or vulnerable animals.
Experts say Sargassum blooms began to increase in size around 2011 and have continued to get bigger and bigger since. This year‘s bloom is around 5000 miles long and 300 miles wide and visible from space.
“I know it’s not a general outlook, but I would like to change the perspective on sargassum,” John said, pointing out The Bahamas National Trust is actively working to decrease alarm over the less worrisome events like sargassum as it raises the profile on the environmentally devastating.
Lease agreement approved for diaspora office
#TurksandCaicos, March 17, 2023 – The Turks and Caicos’ Bahamas Diaspora Office is moving closer and closer to opening day, following the Cabinet’s approval for the signing of a lease agreement.
The lease will be signed with FINCEN ltd in the Bahamas. Several weeks ago, Arlington Musgrove, Minister of Immigration confirmed to our news team that the location had been found and was being finalized; now a lease is approved at the Cabinet level.
The interest in the TCI from TC Bahamians was evident in the diaspora meetings held in early February. The two meetings held in Nassau and Grand Bahama were completely full and over-subscribed by hundreds.
It’s interest which the Government hopes will translate to real life population growth, bolstering the local population before the native population ‘goes extinct’.
The Opposition PDM is on the record with what it feels is a far more viable solution to a dwindling native population; seek out the country’s own citizens and bring them back home.
Cabinet did not state when the office will open.
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