NASSAU, The Bahamas — Prime Minister and Minister of Finance the Rt. Hon. Perry Christie said the signing of a contract, January 25, 2016 for the refurbishment of the Paradise Island East Bridge signifies his Government’s “demonstrated and continued commitment” to ensure that it causes the necessary infrastructure to be developed, improved and maintained to support The Bahamas’ economy, and also to ensure the safety and wellbeing of residents and visitors, and the economic success of stakeholders.
“I congratulate Island Site Development, the contract awardee, for this important undertaking,” Prime Minister Christie said. “I am pleased to know that you are a Bahamian-owned company that specialises in civil engineering and road works development with expertise in marine construction, and with a vision is to provide quality services and products within a safe work environment.
“I am especially pleased to have also been advised that this company is also focused on the development of local talent and skills.”
The contract was signed between the Bridge Authority — in conjunction with the Ministry of Works and Urban Development — and Island Site Development.
Prime Minister Christie said that it is, therefore, the Government’s expectation that Island Site Development will carry out the necessary works efficiently and with the diligence and skill required and, they will complete this project within the stipulated time period.
Prime Minister Christie also noted that millions of tourists and residents traverse the two bridges annually to vacation at or visit the Atlantis and other resorts, and properties, as well as those persons who reside on Paradise Island.
“These bridges, particularly the East Paradise Island Bridge which has existed since 1967, provide a vital transportation link between mainland New Providence and Paradise Island, and serve as an enabling infrastructure for economic activities in our tourism and recreation sectors, and residential market,” he said.
Prime Minister Christie pointed out that, in addition to the Government’s responsibilities and obligations, their continued partnership with Atlantis and other hotel properties is vital, as The Bridge Authority seeks to expand and upgrade its infrastructure and technology, thereby making the journey from New Providence to Paradise Island safe, dependable and easily accessible.
“To cite a couple examples: through technological advances, we have progressed from having to use tokens to pay a bridge toll to now being able to use smart cards, transponders and cash/coins,” he said. “I am also advised that many of the Paradise Island residents and employers enjoy the benefit of having a preferred lane that provides a more efficient route of access to their properties.
“If The Bridge Authority is to serve the long-term economic interest of its stakeholders, it must, therefore, continually improve, upgrade, and operate with fiscal prudence.”
Prime Minister added that he was “very pleased” that The Bridge Authority, under the Chairmanship of Mr. Rory Higgs, was able to successfully retire $5 million of its $28 million bond obligation.
“I am confident that with the implementation of revenue enhancement measures (i.e. toll increase) the Bridge Authority will continue to maintain its financial responsibility to its bond holders,” Prime Minister Christie stated. “I am also certain that we all agree that the safety of and economic opportunities for our stakeholders and patrons are of the utmost importance, and it is it is therefore essential that the bridges be properly maintained and in a timely fashion, especially now that there are two of them.”