Monday, May 18, 2009

Simpson Bay St Maarten Bridge Closure June 2009

This information is from today's (18 May 2009) The Daily Herald (Sint Maarten newspaper)


SIMPSON BAY--The Simpson Bay bridge is due for repairs to be executed all through June, Simpson Bay Lagoon Authority Corporation (SLAC) announced on Sunday. The various repairs will be carried out by Dutch specialised maintenance company Hofman Sliedrecht B.V.

Because of the repairs, the bridge will be closed for maritime traffic from Monday, June 1, to Sunday, June 14. Depending on the progress in the execution of the repair work during the first two weeks, the bridge will open only one day per week at 6:00am, permitting vessels to depart and enter the lagoon.

While repair work is being carried out underneath the bridge deck, the bridge will not open for vessels and no maritime traffic will be allowed to pass under the bridge deck. The passage will be blocked by a pontoon. All small/low maritime traffic will have to make use of the narrower passage under the bridge at the Coast Guard and police station side of the channel.

During the second half of the repair period from June 15 to June 30, road traffic intermittently will only be able to make use of one lane over the bridge. Signs and lights will indicate which lane is in use. Security officers will give directions during the daytime to ensure a smooth flow of traffic.

During the road repair period, traffic will be interrupted for short intervals when necessary to install the scaffolding, to deliver material to the worksite or to position a bucket truck. This work will be done from 5:30am to 8:00am, when road traffic is lightest.

In the last week of repairs, Rijkswaterstaat (the Dutch authority for waterworks and bridges) inspectors will be present to inspect and make an assessment of the condition of the bridge structure. They will put their findings in a report to SLAC.

According to work schedule, the permanent repairs will be finalised by Sunday, June 30. After June 30, the bridge will open again during the regular opening hours.

SLAC will keep the maritime sector and the public informed about the bridge opening times on a weekly basis or as soon as there is any change in the schedule. All facility holders, docks, piers and marinas will receive information by fax or e-mail, or will be visited by SLAC employees.

SLAC advises the captains of all vessels to decide whether their vessels will stay in the lagoon or outside in Simpson Bay during the repairs when the bridge cannot open.

For further information one can call the SLAC Collection Office at the police station in Simpson Bay next to the bridge, tel. 545-3183 or the bridge operator on VHF Channel 12.
Last year's maintenance work was delayed by a few weeks from their planned closures, but you never know... they may be on time this go round. Best to be prepared.