The Boca del Rio Bridge was officially opened in February of 2006, connecting North Ambergris Caye to San Pedro Town. This new connection served to provide easier access and further development of northern Ambergris Caye, thus resulting in increased traffic in this once sleepy area.
There have been claims between residents and frequent travelers of the area of robberies and muggings that seem to be on the increase and many have gone unreported. This, many claim is partially to blame on the very poor lighting in many sections of the road between the Bridge and Las Terrazas Resort.
Driving across the bridge at night time, one notices lighting in front of the Reef Village compound. After this point, the streets are dark until you reach Legend's Burger House where there is a huge illuminating bulb that spotlights a new development underway next door. From there, the available lighting is limited with several stretches laying in total darkness.
A letter of concern was penned by Chris Allnatt, a North Ambergris Caye resident, and sent to the San Pedro Town Council. Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) was also contacted. Mr. Rodolfo Gutierrez, Business Development/Customer Support Supervisor for BEL issued a response. The response stated that this matter may be dealt with in two ways as follows: "If GOB is to subsidize and approve the recurrent costs of these fixtures, then BEL automatically installs fixtures free of cost if these are installed on existing infrastructure. If lights are required on areas without any infrastructure then relevant estimates will be generated and quotations must be paid by GOB before any fixtures are installed at these locations." The second option outlined states, "If GOB decides not to approve such installations, BEL can go ahead and install fixtures free of cost and with similar conditions if lights are required in areas without poles. Whichever party that assumes the responsibility of payment would be billed on a monthly basis. Belize Electricity Limited would assume the responsible for the maintenance of the fixtures and the replacements in the event they become damaged."
Veering more towards option two; the free supply and installation of lights by BEL, followed by private contributions for running each light; it would cost residents or the party which assumes the responsibilities of paying the electricity bills an approximate $44 per month for each light. The cost for the approximate 140 lights, the amount of lights that it would take to illuminate from the Bridge to Las Terrazas would be about $75,000 per year. The goal would be to have private individuals and resorts, developments, restaurants and other stakeholders pay for the first year of energizing the new lights and then have the Government of Belize take over thereafter.
Area Rep. Mr. Manuel Heredia has pledged to work with BEL and the Government to assist in this project for the residents of North Ambergris Caye as well as our visitors as he agrees this is much needed. Chris Allnatt has pledged $2,000 towards the project cost. Individuals interested in learning more about this project can contact Mr. Allnat at:
San Pedro Sun