A section of a temporary bridge that for more than a decade served thousands of drivers traveling between two South Shore communities has been re-purposed to help residents in another part of the world.
Construction and development company Jay Cashman Inc. announced in a post on Facebook last week that its charitable group, Cashman Family Foundation, successfully installed a roughly 80-foot portion of the former Fore River Bridge over a river in Perches, Haiti.
“Before construction of the bridge, Perches had earned a reputation in the region as a place not worth moving to or visiting because the river crossing made travel too unpredictable, and occasionally dangerous,” Liz Checheria, project manager for the Cashman Family Foundation, said in a statement about the bridge’s recent installation. “There have been a few instances of drownings of people attempting to cross the river when it was flooded, and of medical emergencies that occurred in the town when the river was too high to cross.”
With the structure now in place, the foundation hopes the bridge will provide residents of the region greater access to other parts of the country, and improve “the daily lives of those in the community.”
The bridge crosses over the Riviere Cochon Gras, according to Engineering News-Record, a website that covers construction industry news.
In 2002, the temporary Fore River Bridge was erected after the original bascule bridge, which opened in 1936, “was found to be badly deteriorated,” according to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation’s project website.
Jay Cashman Inc. was a subcontractor for the general contractor, White-Skanska-Koch, for the $272 million project, according Patrick Marvin, a spokesman for the Massachusetts Department of Transportation.
“Their work involved demolishing the existing temporary Fore River Bridge,” Marvin said. “As is common on bridge replacement projects, the contractors are responsible for dismantling the existing bridge structure, removing the debris, and disposing or recycling materials.”
The old bridge was fully removed by last summer, he said.
According to the Facebook post about the project, Jay Cashman, Inc., donated the bridge, technical staff, and equipment to put the crossing in place in Haiti. Additional donations came from Sterling Equipment, and French Equipment. The bridge’s design was done by Tighe and Bond, said the post, which has been shared hundreds of times on social media.
Jay Cashman, founder and chairman of Jay Cashman Inc., said in a telephone interview that he thought donating the section of bridge could make a difference for the Haitian community, and jumped at the chance to be of service.
“We thought this was a good project that we could go and help out,” said Cashman, who visited Haiti during the bridge construction. “We think by all accounts that it has been a success.”
He said a second project using other old sections of the temporary bridge — one that is admittedly a bit more complicated — is currently in the works.