Sint Maarten is a Caribbean Island with a mission: building a new bridge to somewhere.
Sint Maarten has a government that annually tries their best to ease the congestion on the South end of the Simpson Bay Lagoon. One year it was a big “round-about” at the base to the hill leading to Phillipsburg. Another year it was a traffic rerouting that, though convoluted, did seem to help.
Keeping in mind that even though Sint Maarten is a small Caribbean island, they do have the benefit of Dutch engineering, being a Netherlands protectorate. The Dutch, of course, can build across lowlands with their eyes closed, so, what seemed to all of us to be a bit of crazy talk, is now reality and the the bridge has quickly begun springing up! A bascule will be in the center to allow boat traffic to the interior marinas and anchorages (we love Dutch side Porto Cupecoy Marina, as well as the sandy, clean, clear anchorage behind Mercure Resort on the French side).
While attending the Antigua Charter Show show we got an interesting perspective from Sint Maarten Port de Plaissance Marina Office Manager Sharita Mills. Her thinking is that the bridge will be terrific for Port de Plaissance, a short taxi from the Sint Maarten International Princess Juliana Airport over the lagoon and straight to the marina now! Great thought. P de P really is a nice facility, there have been recent improvements to the grounds, spa, restaurants, casino, etc. The rooms need a bit more attention, let’s hope this new accessibility gives the hotel owners incentive to upgrade, private and charter yachts have been using this facility for years now and improved hotel rooms would ice the cake.
For business on the inside of the bridge, it really should not create much change. Bridge openings will be timed to sync with the larger Simpson Bay Bridge, smaller vessels can, of course, continue to use the French side bridge as well.
Reputed cost of the bridge is a whopping $25 million dollars. Big hopes. The new Country Sint Maarten is making wonderful progress. Our big hope is that the positive result to tourism and function on the island will trickle down to the economy and some funds can be directed to equally important needs for the island, particularly education, police facilities, and beautification projects.