Frequently Asked Questions
March 1, 2016
What is The Bridge Authority?
- The Bridge Authority is a quasi-government corporation that is responsible for the construction, operation and maintenance of the two bridges between the islands of New Providence and Paradise Island. Not only is it responsible for these two bridges, but its mandate extends to all of the bridges in The Commonwealth of The Bahamas.
- The organisation was brought into existence by The Bridge Authority Act 1998 and incorporated the Paradise Island Bridge Company Limited.
What is the organization’s structure?
- The Bridge Authority has a Board of Directors headed by a Chairman, supported by a Deputy Chairman, and a complement of six other directors. Collectively called “The Board of Directors”, these persons are responsible for policy and oversight, and are not engaged in the day-to-day operations.
- The day-to-day operations are directed by an executive management team consisting of a General Manager, Finance and Customer Services Manager, HR and Office Manager and an IT & Operations Manager.
- The remainder of the organization consists of support staff: Toll Supervisors, Toll Operators, Technical Support Staff and Custodial Staff.
Does Atlantis own the bridges?
- No, Atlantis does not own them. The bridges are owned by The Government of The Commonwealth of The Bahamas.
Who is the current minister with responsibility for The Bridge Authority?
- The Honourable Alfred Sears (Minister of Works & Utilities) is the minister with responsibility for The Bridge Authority.
How many bridges are there?
- There are two bridges that connect the Islands of New Providence and Paradise Island, across the Nassau Harbour.
- Each bridge carries traffic in one direction only.
What are the names of the bridges?
- Before 1998, the bridge between New Providence and Paradise Island was simply referred to as The Paradise Island Bridge. Following the construction of the second bridge between the islands, the bridges were simply referenced by their geographical positions relative to each other, namely, the “eastern bridge” and “the western bridge”.
- In 2012, The Government of The Bahamas, with much fanfare, officially named the western bridge “The Sir Sidney Poitier Bridge”.
When were the bridges built?
- The construction of the eastern bridge commenced in 1966 and opened to traffic in April 1967.
- The Sir Sidney Poitier Bridge was constructed during 1998 and opened to traffic in December of that same year.
How long are the bridges?
- The eastern bridge is 1,560 feet long and 36 feet wide for vehicular traffic, with pedestrian sidewalks on each side that are approximately 5 feet wide.
- The Sir Sidney Poitier Bridge is 1,930 feet long, 52 feet wide with a single pedestrian sidewalk that is 7 feet wide.
How high are the bridges?
- The eastern bridge is 70 feet at its highest point above sea level.
- The Sir Sidney Poitier Bridge is also 70 feet at its highest point above sea level.
What are the weight/load limitations of the bridges?
- The eastern bridge is rated for a maximum of 15 tons.
- The Sir Sidney Poitier Bridge is rated for a maximum of 25 tons.
What are the bridges constructed of?
- Both bridges are made of pre-stressed concrete material using a cantilever type construction.
What were the construction standards adhered to?
- The eastern bridge was constructed according to American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) standards.
- The Sir Sidney Poitier Bridge was constructed according to the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) standards.
How many lanes of traffic can the bridges accommodate?
- The Sir Sidney Poitier Bridge carries three lanes of traffic in a single direction.
- The eastern bridge accommodates two lanes of traffic in a single direction.
How Many Toll booths are there?
- Toll booths exist on The Sir Sidney Poitier Bridge only. The three lanes of traffic fan out into four toll booth lanes.
What is the height clearance of the canopy?
- The canopy at The Sir Sidney Poitier Bridge has a maximum height clearance of 17.5 feet depending on the gradient of the bridge as it slopes down to the toll booths.
Does the bridge ever close?
- The Bridge Authority is a 24/7 operation and it never closes.
- Even during tropical storms and hurricanes, the bridges remain open.
What are the methods of paying the bridge toll?
- Smart Card
- P.I. Pass
What are Smart Cards and Transponders?
- Smart Cards and Transponders are electronic devices for expediting passage across the Sir Sidney Poitier Bridge. Customers who have these devices must maintain an account with sufficient funds with The Bridge Authority, from which the toll is debited automatically. From time to time, customers with these accounts must visit the customer service department in order to top-up their accounts. In the future, customers will be able to top-up their accounts online.
- Smart Cards and Transponders are typically pay-as-you-go devices, where the account balances never expire.
- Smart Cards are carried in your wallet, Transponders are attached to your vehicle’s windshield.
- Transponders use a “deploy-once” technology. Once it is detached from the vehicle’s windshield, it will cease to work, even if it’s reattached.
What is a PI PASS?
- This is a type of transponder for residents of Paradise Island. These account holders pay an annual toll in advance for unlimited trips, and must renew annually. An account holder can have more than one transponder on his account and must pay the annual toll for each transponder on the account.
How much does a smart card or transponder cost?
- The administrative cost for each new or replacement smart card or transponder is $10.
What do the signal lights mean?
- Each lane has a traffic signal with Red, Yellow and Green lights.
- For cash-paying customers, the Red light means stop or wait. The Green Light means proceed.
- For Smart Card & Transponder customers, the traffic lights have the following meanings:
- A Red light means that your account has no money on it (“a bad account”).
- A solid Yellow light means that your account balance is low and that you should add funds to the account.
- A flashing Yellow light means that your transponder was successfully read as you approached the toll booth.
- A solid green light means that your account balance is sufficient and that your account is in good standing.
Why doesn’t the gate open when I pull up to it, even though I’ve paid the toll?
- If you are a cash-paying customer, you should wait at the Toll Operator’s window until you see the light turn green before you proceed. If you get too close to the gate stick before the light turns green, the gate will not open. There are sensors at the gate that act as a safety measure to prevent or minimize accidents
How much is the bridge toll?
|Commercial Vehicles under Seven Feet (7’) Tall||$2|
|Commercial Vehicles over Seven Feet (7’) Tall with two (2) Axles||$4|
|Commercial Vehicles with three (3) Axles or more||$6|
|Employees of businesses at Paradise Island up to twenty six (26) crossings per month ($1.00 of which is payable by Employers)||$1.50|
|Resident Pass (Per Year)||$500|
|Pedestrians & Bicycles||Nil|
How to obtain a smart card or transponder?
- Everyone who wants a transponder or Smart Card can obtain one, once all required information has been provided and vetted.
- Visit the customer service desk at The Bridge Authority and complete the application for a personal account. The application form will instruct you on any supporting documents that may be required.
- For employees on Paradise Island, please apply through your HR Department for an employee Smart Card or Transponder account.
How wide are toll booth lanes?
- The three leftmost lanes are all 10 feet wide.
- The rightmost lane is also used for oversized vehicles and is 14 feet wide.
When was the bridge renovated?
- The East Paradise Island Bridge was last renovated in 1998 during the construction of the Sir Sidney Poitier Bridge.
- The Sir Sidney Poitier Bridge is still relatively new and has not undergone any major renovation since construction.
How was the bridge construction funded?
- The East Paradise Island Bridge, when it was constructed back in 1966/67, was paid for by Resorts International, the forerunner to today’s Atlantis.
- The Sir Sidney Poitier Bridge, when it was constructed back in 1998, was paid for by a public bond placement in the amount of $21.6 Million for 30 years.
- The 2016 renovation to the East Paradise Island Bridge was funded by private bond placement in the amount of $5.3 Million.
How is the money from bridge tolls used?
- The money raised from bridge tolls are used in the following ways:
- Pay the interest on Bonds
- Pay for periodic bridge inspections
- Repay Bond principal amounts at maturity
- Pay for day-to-may operations and maintenance of the bridges
- Pay the administrative cost of operating the bridges
- Pay Value Added Tax
Does The Bridge Authority receive any funding from the Government?
- No, The Bridge Authority does not receive any funding from The Public Treasury.
Can you advertise on the bridge?
- Yes, pre-approval must be granted.
How often do bridge inspections occur?
- Bridge Inspections take place at regular intervals of 2 – 4 years.
Does the toll include VAT?
- Yes, VAT is included in the toll amount.