PI Bridge is a disaster waiting to happen…Incompetence will lead to another desaster

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dscf0189.JPG<<< Could the next bridge collapse happen right here in The Bahamas? And if you look closely here you would see why we made that statement. This is a pillar holding up the forty-four (44) year-old Paradise Island Bridge. This single pillar has multiple cracks in it. And as taken in this photo is puttied with some tar glue. WOW another patched job, on a bridge that have a daily traffic jam, commuting some 7,000 workers from Atlantis alone, not to mention residents and tourist.

Paradise Island Bahamas — Bahamas Press is sending a stern warning to the Ingraham Government to quickly repair the eastern Paradise Island Bridge. We are concern because it appears that this is just another major disaster waiting to happen. On Saturday a local engineer and former inspector of the 44 year old PI bridge has joined Bahamas Press’ call for immediate work to commence.

In an interview with the Tribune [Toilet Paper], Paul Hanna, of Paul Hanna and Associates advised the Ministry of Works in 2005 that the structure is in urgent need of repair. Bahamas Press commenced its own inspection of the PI bridge back in 2009 and brought the matter to the public’s attention.

Everyday thousands of commuters cram their cars with scores of American visitors taxiing them to the mainland on this bridge. We continue to say the eastern Paradise Island Bridge is NOT SAFE! Metal steal are exposed and cracks are visible throughout the structure. We call on the Ingraham led government to act swiftly to this pressing matter and shut down the eastern bridge before it shuts down the entire Tourist Economy! This is Bp’s third warning to the Ingraham government on this situation. REPAIR THE DAMN BRIDGE!!!!!!!

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Engineer: no need for conflict of interest delay in bridge repairs

Published On:Saturday, April 10, 2010
By MEGAN REYNOLDS
Tribune Staff Reporter
mreynolds@tribunemedia.net

THE five-year delay to repair the eastern Paradise Island bridge need not have been made over concerns of conflict of interest, consulting engineer Paul Hanna claims.

Mr Hanna maintains he had no interest in bidding for the repairwork after his firm Paul Hanna and Associates inspected both bridges in 2005 and advised the Ministry of Public Works and Transport that the 44-year-old eastern bridge was in urgent need of repair.

Although ministry officials and members of the Bridge Authority Board accepted the need for immediate repairs to the bridge in a public statement released this week, Board members were cautious to ensure there was no conflict of interest in seeking a contractor to repair the cracks, scouring and exposed metal on the bridge.

They were concerned that offering Mr Hanna first right of refusal on the contract for repairs could call into question the reliability of the report, and thus sought legal advice from the Attorney General’s office, further delaying the repairs.

But Mr Hanna said his consulting engineering firm, which prepares designs and contract documents for tendering and construction by contractors, expressed no interest in carrying out the work and that he categorically stated how rehabilitation contracts were beyond the purview of the report.

“We never expressed any interest in carrying out the bridge construction repairs,” Mr Hanna said.

“So they need to explain why legal advice was sought from the Attorney General’s office about something that never happened.

“The ministry is well aware of the difference between a consulting engineer and a contractor, so one must come to the ineluctable conclusion that the misinformation was given as a disingenuous attempt to shift the blame for its delay in taking action on the recommended repairs.”

Mr Hanna maintains his study superseded previous studies done in 1998 and 2000 as unlike previous studies, his was in full compliance with the US Federal Bridge Inspection standards.

He said he was the first to use a snooper-crane to closely examine the underside of the bridge and conduct an underwater investigation, whereby he found impairments undermining the strength of the eastern bridge.

But Mr Hanna said he declined the subsequent invitation to tender on a follow-up investigation because the invitation contained technical flaws and credited previous studies while discrediting his own.

Mr Hanna is now concerned that five years after his report was submitted, no documents detailing the repairs needed have been prepared for contractors to tender, and the integrity of the bridge is at stake.

The ministry maintains ARUP was recently contracted to undertake an independent assessment of the bridges and the exploratory work for a new comprehensive report is currently underway.

Once the report has been completed, local and international companies will be invited to bid for the job of executing the repairs.
Minister of Public Works and Transport Neko Grant said all the necessary funding is in place.

Permanent Secretary Colin Higgs said there were a number of complex issues in question. However he did not have sufficient time to research the details and formulate a response before The Tribune went to press.