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#401377 - 03/01/11 04:27 AM Paving of the Southern Highway
Marty Offline
Press Release - Belmopan - February 28th 2011 - A contract signing agreement was signed between the Government of Belize and the Contractor Cisco Construction Ltd at a cost of BZ $47,995,867.50 for the upgrading of the road from Big Falls Village (Dump) to the Belize/Guatemala Border. Funds for the implementation of this projects were sourced from a loan to the Belize Government from the Kuwait Fund for the Arab Economic Development and AFID (OPEC Fund for the International Development)including the Central American Bank for the Economic Integration (CABEI), and counterpart funding contributed by the Government of Belize.

The works consist of upgrading approximately 34KM (23 Miles) to paved standards, the existing road embankment from Big Falls Village –mile 14 (Dump) to a point 1.5km south of Jalacte Village, following the current alignment, which passes through the villages of Mafredi, San Antonio, Santa Cruz, Santa Elena and Pueblo Viejo. The road cross section will comprise of two 3.25 meters of wide lanes with 1 meter wide paved shoulders; this is a total of 8.5 meters surfaced roadway width. All major existing drainage structures (box culverts) and concrete bridges will be rehabilitated to ensure continued service life.

When completed, the highway will serve several objectives and will allow Villages located in the Western part of Toledo District improved access to Punta Gorda and the rest of the country. It will enhance our capacity for commerce and trade from our Central American neighbours and encourages the formal establishments of a second border crossing with Guatemala.

Posted by The San Pedro Sun Newspaper

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#401393 - 03/01/11 03:08 PM Re: Paving of the Southern Highway [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

The Last Link To Guatemala Paved

The last link of the Southern Highway is about to be paved - and soon enough, it will take travelers right up to the Belize Guatemala boundary. That's the stretch from the cutoff at dump to Jalacte which abuts the Belize Guatemala border in the southwest.

The Forty Seven million dollar upgrading of a 23 mile stretch of the Southern Highway, is expected to give the residents of Western Toledo improved access to Punta Gorda and the rest of the country.

A signing agreement between the Government of Belize and the contractor, Cisco Construction Limited took place today at the Ministry of Works in Belmopan.

Cadet Henderson, CEO Ministry of Works
"This 23 miles of road has been an area of major maintenance demands for us due to the rugged terrain so it's a long overdue and we can't wait to see it upgraded to the standard we have design."

Hon. Anthony "Boots" Martinez, Minister of Works "Well I want to congratulate the successful tender Mr. Woods. Everybody in this country knows of the reputation of CISCO, they have been building some of the best roads in our country and we hope for him to keep it that way. I think it's a very important road for the south of this country and the people of the south and by extension the country is waiting for this road and we hope to get it on quick and give the people the road they rightfully deserve."

John Woods, CISCO
"We are certainly excited about this job. It's going to be one of the biggest contracts we've ever sign. It's a 3 year contract at a time when jobs are scarce so we are excited about that. We will have stability over the next 3 years. Excited about the difference it's going to make to all the number of people that live in that area and about the future development of the country by having that road in. We take it serious, not only in the construction part of it but we take it very serious in the development of our people, our workers and every that is involve in the project."

Funds for the implementation of the project come from a loan to the Belize Government by the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development and the OPEC Fund for the International Development, including the Central American Bank for Economic Integration, and counterpart funding contributed by the Government of Belize. The government says the paving will enhance commerce and trade between Belize and its Central American neighbors, while encouraging the formal establishment of a second border crossing with Guatemala.

Channel 7


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#401395 - 03/01/11 03:10 PM Re: Paving of the Southern Highway [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

CONTRACT SIGNED FOR PAVING OF PORTION OF SOUTHERN HIGHWAY

A contract for the paving of the southern Highway all the way to the Belize-Guatemala border was signed today in Belmopan. The contract was awarded to Cisco Construction and will cost forty seven point nine million dollars. According to a government press release, funds for the implementation of the project have been secured through a loan to the Government of Belize from the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development and the OPEC Fund for International Development. Counterpart funding will be contributed by the government of Belize.

Anthony Martinez – Minister of Works

“This is very important for the south and especially with our trading block especially with Guatemala and I think that is very important for the economic purpose of the country of Belize. They have always talked about the south being forgotten but I can tell you effective today you can safely say the south has one of the best road network in the country. We are completing Placencia Road, the Southern Highway the last nine miles from Golden Stream to Punta Gorda and now the Dump to Jalacte. It is very important for trade, it is very important for the residents of the south and by extension the people of this country. It is a three year contract and like the contractor rightfully pointed out especially with the high rainfall in Punta Gorda he will be making triple what he calls making hay while the sun shines and that is very important. His comment is that they should be starting within two weeks physical to start to work; they are setting up camp so they are ready to go even before the ink sits on the paper.”

According to the government release, the project will consist of the upgrading of approximately twenty three miles of road extending from Big Falls and passing through Mafredi, San Antonio, Santa Cruz, Santa Elena and Pueblo Viejo.

LOVEFM

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#401472 - 03/02/11 03:25 PM Re: Paving of the Southern Highway [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

New $48 mil road to link Bze with Pan - American Highway!

The Government announced today that a contract valued at BZ$47,995,867.50, to be financed mostly with foreign debt, has been awarded to Cisco Construction for the upgrading of 23 miles of road in the Toledo District, from The Dump in Big Falls Village, located at Mile 14 on the Southern Highway, to the Belize-Guatemala border, less than a mile south of Jalacte.

Amandala understands that a bridge, not included in this project, would still be needed to connect what some have called the Jalacte Highway to the Pan-American Highway on the Guatemalan side of the border—a project for which an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) had been prepared in 2002 and recently updated, due to extended delays in implementation.

The two-lane road upgrade, which would span about roughly 28 feet, including paved shoulders, would complete Belize’s connection to the Pan-American Highway – a regional network of roads from Mexico down to Panama. It would pass through villages such as Mafredi, San Antonio, Santa Cruz, Santa Elena and Pueblo Viejo on the Belize side, the government notes.

A map of the area, which Amandala has obtained from the May 2010 EIA, shows that the Guatemalan village of Santa Cruz is on the other side of the border.

Amandala readers will recall that back in 2008 there was major controversy over an attempt by a very influential Guatemalan villager of Santa Cruz to bulldoze a road into Belize at Jalacte. The man, Leonel Arellanos, had defiantly set up a bodega on the Belize side of the border and had threatened to shoot Belize security forces personnel if they dared to remove his bodega. The structure was only removed after OAS intervention. Prime Minister Dean Barrow had said that Santa Cruz villagers had threatened their own security forces if they dared to remove Arellanos’ storage bodega, which had been perched atop a cleared hill at Jalacte.

At the time locals in the area highlighted the fact that this cross-border migration and trade, mostly agriculturally based, was a way of life for those on both sides of the border.

In light of this fact, there had been calls by the People’s National Party (PNP) for the government of Belize to establish a formal Customs port in that area.

Pin-pointing the two main objectives of the upgrade, the Government of Belize said in its press release today: “When completed, the highway will serve several objectives and will allow villages located in the Western part of Toledo District improved access to Punta Gorda and the rest of the country.

“It will enhance our capacity for commerce and trade from our Central American neighbors and encourages the formal establishments of a second border crossing with Guatemala ...”

John Woods, proprietor of Cisco Construction, told Amandala today that his company was the only local company to meet pre-qualification requirements, and he beat out three foreign companies to get the job during a competitive bid. Woods said that his proposal was BZ$10 million cheaper than the rest.

Working during the rainy season will no doubt be a challenge. According to Woods, who underscored the need to “make hay while the sun shines,” surveyors are being dispatched and materials are due to be trucked into the area in as early as three weeks, although the entire project is expected to take about three years.

He told us that the bulk of the fill materials would be trucked from quarries at San Pedro Columbia and Jalacte, and the project would employ about 300 workers. Woods also said that they will also hire private crushers to help in the project.

The main challenges, he added, will be weather and finding a way to carry on works while keeping the roads open, since the roads are used regularly by children who commute to school by bus.

Amandala contacted Contractor-General Godwin Arzu to ask him for his views on the recently concluded contract, but we were told that he would get back to us when he secures the relevant documents.

According to the Government of Belize’s press release, “Funds for the implementation of this project were sourced from a loan to the Belize Government from the Kuwait Fund for the Arab Economic Development and AFID (OPEC Fund for the International Development), including the Central American Bank for the Economic Integration (CABEI), and counterpart funding contributed by the Government of Belize.”

Woods said that the upgraded road will be “just like the Southern Highway.” Cisco was also contractedto do the South IV and South V projects, both spanning 1999 to 2002. South IV involved upgrading of the road from Mango Creek to the Stann Creek bridge, a total of 17 miles, at a cost of BZ$20.6 million, while South V involved 21 miles of road at a cost of BZ$24.7 million.

In November 2007, Alejandro Vernon, JP, of Punta Gorda, had written in a letter published in Amandala that, “In 1972, when I was area representative for Toledo North, I agitated for the linking of the Toledo/Peten highway, so that we, of Toledo, could have access to the Pan-American Highway system, like those of the Cayo District.

“In those years, the border villages of Jalacte [and] San Vicente did not exist, but there were footpaths from Pueblo Viejo on the Belize side to the Guatemalan border unto San Luis Peten.”

Apart from the road upgrade, Amandala is informed that the road will end at a river, and a new bridge will need to be constructed to connect with the Guatemala portion of the highway from the Belize side.

The proposal for this project had been in the news back in 2006 under the Said Musa administration. It had been explained that the Pan-American Highway was really a part of the Plan Pueblo Panama, to which Mexico and all of Central America are a party.

According to the May 2010 EIA for the project, “Cultural impacts are among the most important in the project area.”

It went on to say that the project area is dominated by the Mopan Maya, who live a largely traditional lifestyle.

“Improved road access will certainly improve the economic options in the area, but will also bring many other changes.

“Fears exist that it may affect local customs and land use patterns and even land tenure. But apart from that, there is widespread fear that improving this road and ultimately linking it with road access from Guatemala will affect safety by attracting criminal elements from across the border.”

The EIA, prepared by Belize Environmental Consultancies, owned by Jan Meerman, said that improved security presence to address safety and a moratorium on the issuing of land titles along the upgraded road would mitigate against the expected changes.

Amandala


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#401475 - 03/02/11 03:34 PM Re: Paving of the Southern Highway [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Will security problems from upgraded road access outweigh the economic benefits?

A loan of forty-eight million dollars will be spent to upgrade twenty three miles of road in the south that will link the Southern Highway to the Belize/Guatemala border. Tonight’s question is: Do you think the security problems from the upgraded road access will outweigh the economic benefits to the south? Send your comments and responses using your SMART phones to 8686 or post your vote on our e-poll at channel5belize.com. You can also send an email with your comments to questions@channel5belize.com.


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