Saturday, April 20, 2024

Completion of Boca del Rio bridge to cost $5 million


Mayor Gualberto’ Wally’ Nuñez said that when the Sir Barry Bowen Bridge in the Boca del Rio area is complete, it will be at the hefty cost of $5 million. He explained that one of the reasons is due to additional features the structure will count on to enhance its durability and safety for motorists and pedestrians. The second phase of construction to replace the other wooden half of the bridge will start this week and be completed by the end of this year.
The initial price tag for the bridge’s renovation was $2 million before construction started in December 2021. According to the Mayor, that was spent on the first half of the structure, and another $3 million is needed to complete the project. “The cost has changed because of the material being used,” said Nuñez. The Mayor said that the increase in expenses also has to do with the fact that the entire wooden section of the old part of the bridge will be dismantled, including the old piles. Nuñez said the new bridge would have a row of lights in the middle, replacing the initial idea of installing plants. The railing of the current refurbished section will be replaced, and sidewalks will be built to make it safer for pedestrians when crossing the bridge/street to head to the San Mateo Subdivision. In addition, a portion of the entrance to San Mateo will be paved.
Nuñez said he is aware of the complaints from residents regarding the height of the bridge. As a result, he has instructed the contractor to ensure this other half of the bridge does not go lower. The concrete bridge is designed as a two-lane structure guiding north and south traffic.
Who is paying?
Mayor Nuñez stated that a loan is financing the total makeover of the bridge. According to him, the toll fees collected at the bridge finance the loan. He said this is despite charging a fraction of the original fees and excluding private golf carts and vehicles from the toll. The toll fees have been in effect since November 2021. The toll can be paid when accessing the structure, or a monthly pass can be purchased, which is more economical. The San Pedro Town Council (SPTC) advises the public to acquire pre-paid passes to avoid delays when crossing the bridge. These passes can be purchased at the traffic department at the SPTC anytime between 8AM-5PM, Monday through Friday. Below you can see the toll fees and who they apply to.
When Nuñez and his team took office in March 2021, they prioritized renovating the original wooden bridge and replacing it with a concrete structure. There were concerns that it would collapse, and because the island had developed over the years, a new and sturdy bridge was imperative. The Mayor said they had secured a $2 million loan for the project; however, almost a year later, they will need $3 million more to finish the project.

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