NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Residents in Andros have begun utilizing a free barge and ferry service between Fresh Creek and Central Andros after the Fresh Creek Bridge sustained “severe damage” and was deemed unsafe.
Central Andros island administrator Glenn Lightbourne told Eyewitness News yesterday that the barge has been operating since Monday from 7am to 7.30pm, transporting people and vehicles from both sides on the bridge.
Last week, the Ministry of Public Works advised that a said a mail boat leaving the Fresh Creek dock on Wednesday “lost control” and struck the Fresh Creek Bridge, causing major damage.
The bridge is a vital transport link that provides the only road crossing to Fresh Creek in Central Andros.
Residents in Fresh Creek have to cross the bridge to go to the bank, the airport, the Water and Sewerage Corporation, and many other essential agencies.
One-third of the Central Andros community is on that side of the bridge from Bowen Sound to Behring Point.
Lightbourne explained that the barge operates between Fresh Creek and a landing at the Andros Lighthouse Club in Andros Down – which is some 400 feet away.
A mailboat is being used for the barge transfer.
Lightbourne said there are usually between 12 to 15 vehicles traveling from both sides per trip, more than 15 times a day he said.
He noted that while there is schedule for the ferry times has been implemented.
“People have become comfortable with bringing their vehicle at certain times during the day,” Lightbourne said.
“…I’m sure it would require more planning for a day and you have to cross and bring the vehicle with you.”
The island administrator noted that the new system means residents will have to make adjustments to the way they commute until the bridge is repaired.
“I can imagine their days are longer because if you return to Fresh Creek and a trip has just been completed, the ferry isn’t going to automatically start moving again,” he said.
“You may have an opportunity to put your vehicle on but you may have wait until the next trip. So I could imagine it expands their day.”
Lightbourne noted that workers have already begun inspections and assessments of the bridge.
“That has made it a little easier for us…and knowing there is some effort,” he said.
“We haven’t heard any announcement over the timing as it relates to the bridge but the presence of those persons gives us the confidence that they are attending to that matter”.