Flat Bridge … Jamaica’s Most Famous & Oldest Bridges

Flat Bridge, St Catherine, Jamaica.
Flat Bridge, St Catherine, Jamaica.

When travelling from Kingston to the the central north coast it is most likely you will take the A1 route which will bring you along the river towards Flat Bridge. Flat Bridge was built in the mid 18th century by salve labour, plantations in the area was obliged to provide one slave out of every 50 to work on it.

Flat Bridge was first named the River Road Bridge with the road that carry’s you through to the gorge one of the most scenic routes in Jamaica, was later known as Sixteen Mile Walk.

Between 1881 and 1915, the floor of the bridge was washed away and later re-floored with iron girders and buckle plates taken from the original flooring of the May Pen bridge. Today, the bridge of three spans is supported by two piers and two abutments. In the 1930s it had metal handrails and later wooden ones, but these were devoured by the river at different times. Hemispheres of stone are now the only protection on the bridge itself.

Flat Bridge in the early 1900's
Flat Bridge in the early 1900’s

Flat Bridge has been dubbed as one of the Seven Wonders of Jamaica. With it’s sudden sharp turn across the river without protective railing it has got to be an induction for every new driver to cross it.

Crossing the one lane bridge was a battle of wills, and many have been the traffic jams as drivers threaten and challenge each other for space. A scene from The Harder They Come had the country bus held up for hours as country boy Jimmy Cliff made his way into Kingston.  Today the bridge is managed by traffic lights which makes driving far less daunting.

So when travelling to the north coast from Kingston or from the north coast to Kingston the Bog Walk Gorge, with is towering lush rock face that reaches hundreds of feet high, Pum Pum Rock and Flat Bridge is a must see.

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