Students exposed to danger
Days before repair works were set to take place on an overhead pedestrian crossing along Marescaux Road in Kingston, a truck crashed into the structure making it unsafe for use.
The National Works Agency (NWA) told THE STAR that the bridge was hit by a truck on Saturday which resulted in it becoming unstable.
Stephen Shaw, head of communicating at the agency, says the agency had issued a contract for repair works to begin on the bridge this month. However, the repairs have now been put on hold and there is no indication when it will be reopened.
"After the motor vehicle hit it on Saturday, we have to factor that damage that has been done to the scope of the work. How we are re-scooping certain aspects of the works, doing designs for the damage that has been done, where one of the columns has been hit, and we are looking to have the activities wrapped up by the end of November," Shaw told THE STAR.
Bear the cost
While there will be a re-evaluation of the work needed to improve the bridge, Shaw said the agency is considering taking actions against the driver for him or his insurance company to bear the cost of the damage done to the bridge in the accident. "That is something that is under active considerations," he said.
Under the law, motorists who crash their vehicles into road furnishings such as guard rails and signs can be forced to pay, through their insurance companies, for their repair or replacement.
The overhead pedestrian crossing is used mainly by students of the Wolmer's Girls School to enter and exit the Heroes Circle-based campus. The bridge has been closed since Monday, forcing the pupils to cross the busy roadway instead.
A yellow caution tape has been placed at a section of the structure to warn persons that they should not venture on it.
Shaw said that before the accident, the work would have been focused heavily on the area where pedestrians would walk. "Structurally, the bridge was OK, but some of the flooring, the area where the kids would walk, needed to be repaired," he said.
Shaw says while the bridge is closed, the school has taken on the responsibility to ensure that the students cross the street safely.