#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.
GBPA invests $1.1 million in major road infrastructure improvements for city of Freeport
#TheBahamas, May 20, 2022 – The Grand Bahama Port Authority, Limited (GBPA) will commence its $1.1 million road resurfacing project in Freeport, Grand Bahama on Sunday, May 22, 2022 beginning with the Fishing Hole Road, and West Atlantic and Adventures Way roundabout.
“Our City Maintenance and Management section is excited to begin this important initiative to resurface roadways within Freeport,” said Troy McIntosh, GBPA Deputy Director of Building and Development Services. “Our city has been through many challenging storm events which did catastrophic damage to infrastructure around the island, including our roads.
“But our community is resilient, and we are seeing a positive shift in the economic tide,” continued McIntosh. “Excitement for future opportunities and anticipation of new investments is palpable through the city, so we knew this was the ideal time to start this aspect of Freeport’s much-needed makeover to which GBPA is fully committed.”
Roadworks are scheduled for main thoroughfares and a number of residential roads. These areas include the Fishing Hole Road, West Atlantic and Adventures Way roundabout, West Atlantic Drive at Rayvin Mall roundabout, Beach Way Drive, Bahama Reef Boulevard, Pioneers Way, Waterfall Drive, Tarrytown Street and Grand Bahama Highway. “We selected these locations using our Road Rating System, which allows inspectors to assess the condition and rideability of our roads on an annual basis,” added Mr. McIntosh.
The GBPA roadworks project went out to bid in December 2020. In March 2022, the bid was awarded to Bahamas Hot Mix (BHM), who specializes in heavy civil engineering projects including major highways.
“We ask motorists to drive with due care and attention while roadwork is underway,” Mr. McIntosh advised. Flagmen and temporary traffic lights will be in position to direct traffic. Please obey the speed limit and posted signs to help ensure the safety of all motorists and crews as they conduct work. Delays are expected as there will be partial lane closures in some areas.”
The initial phase of road resurfacing is scheduled to be completed at the end of June 2022. For the latest updates and information on redirected travel routes, residents can follow any of the Grand Bahama Port Authority’s social media sites or visit its website at www.gbpa.com.
Freaky Weather includes Waterspouts, Severe Flooding and fish in Backyards
By Dana Malcolm & Deandrea Hamilton
#TheBahamas, May 19, 2022 – A waterspout whirling its way onto shore in the west, images of submerged cars, impassable roads and even fish darting around in a flooded backyard were the testimony of Nassau’s extreme weather weekend.
The Bahamas Department of meteorology had predicted severe weather from Friday midday to Saturday warning of, “GUSTY WINDS, DANGEROUS LIGHTNING, HEAVY DOWNPOURS, HAIL AND POSSIBLE WATERSPOUT OR TORNADIC ACTIVITY and possibly LOCALIZED FLOODING.”
Reports of hail, the freakish funnel cloud, downpour flooded streets, submerged cars and stranded workers trying to get home made for a shocking weekend.
There were dramatic videos of the forecast, waterspouts, which made an appearance near seaside restaurants Sapodilla Bay and Traveller’s Rest. The ‘water tornado’ slashing against parked cars, producing whipping winds and tossing water into the restaurant elicited screams and frantic activity as residents could be heard rushing to safety.
The storm is unseasonably early with the official start to the hurricane season still two weeks away; but it maintains a trend for severe weather consistently appearing well ahead of the official June 1 start.
On Tuesday waterspouts erupted in the bay off Harbour Island, Eleuthera, also in The Bahamas as the country was inundated this week with SEVERE WEATHER ALERTS issued by The Bahamas Department of Meteorology.
The latest forecast as weekend approaches is there will be more of the same.
“EXTENDED FORECAST (FOR THE NEXT TWO DAYS): A TROPICAL WAVE, SKIRTING THE
SOUTHERN PERIPHERY OF THE BAHAMAS, WILL PROGRESSIVELY MOVE WESTWARDS AND
RAIN CHANCES IN THE FORECAST INTO SATURDAY.”
The first tropical wave of 2022 has been identified but a pre-season storm is not yet expected. There have been pre-season tropical storms for the past seven years in a row according to WWLTV and the season is expected to be more severe than usual.
“An above-average season with major hurricane landfalls in the U.S.and in the Caribbean is unfortunately likely. Accuweather experts predict.
“16-20 named storms and six to eight hurricanes. Of those hurricanes, about three to five are forecast to reach major hurricane status.”
Boaters and swimmers in the two archipelagos – The Bahamas and Turks and Caicos Islands – were warned to be cautious as well, “BOATERS SHOULD REMAIN VIGILANT DUE TO THE THREAT OF POSSIBLE WATERSPOUT ACTIVITY. BEACHGOERS SHOULD EXERCISE CAUTION DUE TO THE RISK OF RIP CURRENTS,” the Meteorology Department said.
Government, fulfilling commitment to provide housing for Bahamians
By: Kathryn Campbell
Bahamas Information Services
#TheBahamas, May 18, 2022 – The Hon. Philip Davis, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, has underscored the government’s commitment to “strengthening” and “deepening” its “unmatched” legacy of providing access to decent, affordable housing to Bahamians.
“Our BMC Executive Chair, Barbara Cartwright, is committed to expediting those applications and assigning without delay, suitably qualified housing applicants.
“I believe the number of applications at BMC in just the last eight months is in excess of 3,500. This housing demand suggests that we move with urgency and dispatch.”
In this vein, the government, Monday, along with stakeholders, unveiled The Renaissance at Carmichael, a housing sub-division on 70 acres of crown land off Carmichael Road in Western New Providence.
Executives of the government and public-private partnerships (PPP) participated in a ceremonial signing of a Memorandum of Understanding, May 16, 2022 at the Office of the Prime Minister, which will allow Bahamian families the ability to open the doors to 200 new homes.
The subdivision is being funded by a PPP arrangement between the Government, a $20 million backing from PROVEN Wealth Ltd. through Simplified Lending, the Mortgage Corporation of the Bahamas and financiers.
Dignitaries in attendance: the Hon. Jobeth Coleby-Davis, Minister of Transport and Housing; the Hon. Vaughn Miller, Minister of the Environment and Natural Resources; the Hon. Pia Glover-Rolle, Minister of State for the Public Service; Leroy Major, Executive Chairman, Bahamas Agricultural and Industrial Corporation; Nicole Campbell, Secretary to the Cabinet; David Davis and Antoinette Thompson, Permanent Secretaries; Barbara Cartwright, Chairman, Bahamas Mortgage Corporation; Oral Lafleur, Acting Chief Housing Officer; and Thomas Ferguson, Acting Director of Housing. Representatives of private sector partners: Robert Pantry, Founder and CEO, Simplified Lending; Johann Heaven, President and CEO, PROVEN Wealth Limited.
Prime Minister Davis assured that as the economy fully opens and grows, the government expects to expand PPPs in other areas of national economy including public infrastructure providing investments, ownership and job opportunities for Bahamians.
Minister Coleby-Davis said the initiative will set a new standard in affordable housing by which other housing developments will be measured.
“With this project we intend to create an estate where a sense of community thrives. There will be lit streets, sidewalks; a park where children can play safely and family gatherings can take place. Neighbors will be able to come together and interact as our families were able to do many years ago.
Formerly known as Carmichael Village Sub-division, the community will comprise 104 single family, two and three-bedroom residences, and eight two-storey condominium buildings with 12 units each.
In a video presentation Minister Coleby-Davis said, “Thanks to Simplified Lending, a Bahamian company which secured funding through a leading regional finance company called PROVEN. Many who only dreamed of home ownership will be able to walk through the front door to their new lives in less than one year.”
She informed that homes will be built to the highest quality with steel frame construction, storm-rated windows and doors, attractive facades and strong concrete foundations raised three feet above road level.
“Thanks to careful design, planning and exemptions on certain building supplies, every home will remain in the affordable price range opening doors to home ownership starting at $130,000,” she said.
Mr. Heaven said, “This transaction today will be primarily funded through the Bahamian portion of our Heritage education fund which is a regional education savings plan that is over 30 years old and is a household name for saving for your children’s tertiary education.”
The government broke ground for Pinecrest Sub-Division, a 43-lot community in Southern New Providence in January of this year.
BIS Photos/Patrick Hanna
Header: From left: Antoinette Thompson, Permanent Secretary; the Hon. Jobeth Coleby-Davis, Minister of Transport and Housing; Nicole Campbell, Secretary to the Cabinet and the Hon. Philip Davis, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance.
1st insert: The Hon. Philip Davis, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, is pictured speaking at the signing of Memorandum of Understanding for The Renaissance at Carmichael, a new sub-division in western New Providence.
2nd insert: The Hon. Jobeth Coleby-Davis, Minister of Transport and Housing and Johann Heaven, President and CEO, PROVEN Wealth Ltd., after ceremonial signing of the Memorandum of Understanding.
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