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Flat Bridge – A Survival Guide

Flat Bridge, Bog Walk Gorge or “River Road” as some people call it, can be one of the most daunting first-time driving experiences ever! Surrounded by water on both sides, with no railings or safety restraint, Flat Bridge claims many lives each year. So much so, that persons believe the accidents along this stretch are caused by the ghosts of Flat Bridge demanding blood.

Many myths surround Flat Bridge, from the pillars of the bridge being built with dead bodies to the bridge being a gathering place for the ghosts of the slaves who lost their lives during construction. Residents of the area have even claimed to see mermaids or “River Mummas” and believe these entities are responsible for many of the accidents that happen in the Gorge.

I personally think that the road needs to be widened and that our drivers need to be less reckless, but that’s just my opinion. If you’re feeling superstitious though and wanna explore these myths, check out these links:
https://www.panmedia.com.jm/blog/2014-10/4-popular-myths-about-flat-bridge
http://jamaica-star.com/article/news/20171215/bog-walk-gorge-haunted-residents-say-mermaids-spirits-live-there

Driving Conditions

Whether you believe these myths or not, keep a few things in mind while traversing Flat Bridge:

  1. The road is narrow and winding. Many drivers will tell you that Flat Bridge has one of the longest corners in Jamaica, and has many areas that are considered crash hotspots.
  2. The Rio Cobre River is to the left or right, and mountains to the opposite side depending on the direction you are travelling from. There are no railings separating the road from the water, so, in the event of an accident, vehicles almost inevitably will end up in the River…and it is quite deep. Thankfully, this area boasts some of the best divers in the country. These men and women save countless lives each year, so hats off to them.
  3. Large chunks of rocks often times fall into the road, especially when there have been sustained rains – look out for these!
  4. The river rises when there is heavy rainfall. This is quite scary, as water can come onto the road and make driving quite dangerous. Many drivers have had to be rescued by helicopter after getting stuck in the gorge when the river rises. This happens usually in the hurricane season from June to November.
  5. Large trucks and trailers frequent the Gorge. You’ll find that many of these drivers don’t go slowly either.
  6. The bridge itself is pretty wide, so driving across it is quite easy; the Rio Cobre River is on either side though, and there are no railings, so caution must be exercised.

Long and short – be on your P’s and Q’s while driving along River Road! Give the road the respect it deserves – for both your sake and others.

Alternate Routes

There was a time when Flat Bridge was the major connecting road to cities like Ocho Rios, Kingston, Montego Bay and Negril with trips to the latter 2 taking upwards of 3 hours. Thankfully, we now have Highway 2000 and the North/South Highway that significantly cuts down the travel time to get across the island, and presents a safer driving route. The downside – cost. Paying toll fees every day can (and will) really add up.

The Sligoville route is also an alternative for persons wanting to get into Kingston or Spanish Town. There are no potholes whatsoever; It is a smooth stretch. Word of caution though, it is also an extremely winding road so again, caution must be exercised.

Scenery + Attractions

Despite any negative associations, the natural beauty of the Bog Walk Gorge cannot be denied. It is teeming with greenery and is quite a sight to behold. You can check out the video above to get a feel of the journey, but nothing compares to seeing it all in person.

Talking about Flat Bridge wouldn’t be complete without touching on one of the major attractions in the Gorge – “Pim Rock” or “Pum Pum Rock”. One look at it and the logic of the name is undeniable! If you’re still not sure what it is, note that “pum pum” is a Jamaican word for a woman’s vagina…you’re welcome.

Pim rock Jamaica; Pum pum rock flat bridge
“Pim/”Pum Pum Rock”

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