Belize’s portion of Bi-national Border Bridge to be completed by Mexico
The Mexican President Felipe Calderón through the Federal Executive on Tuesday, November 20th, asked the Senate to authorize the Mexican Government to dispatch personnel from the Mexican Army to Belize. The reason for sending the Mexican Army to Belize is to support the Belizean government in the construction of a stretch of highway in the Bi-national Border Bridge that is located on the Belizean side of the northern border in the Santa Elena area of the Corozal District.
Belize and Mexico signed an agreement for the construction of the bridge back in June of 2005 when the then-President of Mexico, Vicente Fox, visited Belize. The Mexican government agreed to finance the construction of the bridge, 500 meters of road from the bridge into the Belizean territory, and the access road from the bridge to the Subteniente Lopez community in Santa Elena located in the state of Quintana Roo. Those projects were completed since 2008. However, the Belize government has been unable to construct the stretch of road, approximately a quarter of a mile long, from the end of 500 meters off the foot of bridge on the Belize side of border to the current Belizean Border facilities. The office of President Calderón said that in the framework of bilateral cooperation between the two countries, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belize made a request to the Mexican government to finance the construction of the section of the highway that is still pending for the bridge to be officially opened.
President Calderón said that the project responds to an agreement between the two governments that was first made in 2008 to open a new international bridge to encourage trade between the two countries. Calderón also said that the bridge offers more efficient and secure movement of people and goods and benefits more than 2,900 people living on both sides of the border.
Calderón said that as such, he proposed “to use the experience and capacity of staff of the Secretariat of National Defense” (Department of Defense), and send to Belize 11 members of the Mexican Army consisting of a colonel, a captain, a lieutenant and eight troop elements of the Directorate General Engineers section of the army.
The unarmed military elements will only work on the equipment and machinery needed for execution of the project, which is estimated to last for a period of four weeks. Calderon’s request was referred to the National Defense Commission of the Senate of the Republic for analysis and for a decision.
According to multiple media reports in Mexico, it was the hope of President Calderon to have officially inaugurated the bridge before his successor President Elect Enrique Peña Nieto takes office on December 1st. The construction of the bridge and access road was constructed at a cost of approximately 150 million pesos.
Mexican President Felipe Calderon will end his six year term in a matter of days. And one of his last acts was to open the new Belize - Mexico bridge, dubbed the "Chactemal" Bridge and the Subteniente López II border point.
He did that on Friday evening and in his address he said that the entire project cost nearly 180 million pesos.
Infrastructure at the facility was improved and state of the art equipment was purchased.
Deputy Prime Minister represented Belize at the event.
Now, the Belize side is still not connected to the new bridge and border facility. And that's because while the Mexicans built the bridge - Belize hasn't been able to come up with the money to build the half mile of road to connect our border station to it.
INAUGURATION OF SUBTENIENTE LÓPEZ II BORDER BRIDGE
Video of Mexican President speech:
Mexican president Felipe Calderon inaugurated the new international bridge and the Mexican facilities at the border Mexico-Belize, on 23 November 2012.
On tour in the State of Quintana Roo, President Calderón inaugurated the Subteniente López II “Chactemal” Bridge, which will boost trade between Mexico and Belize.
President Calderón remarked that opening the bridge will create more economic development and opportunities for progress for the families in the region. It will have appropriate spaces for promoting the development of customs operations, guaranteeing workers’ security and streamline the shipping of merchandise as well as the entry of passengers by bus and light vehicles.
Infrastructure was improved and state of the art furniture and equipment was purchased. Infrastructure was improved and state-of-the-art furniture and equipment was purchased. The Customs Office is now better equipped to provide efficient service for users and strengthen Mexico‘s links with international markets. An investment of nearly 180 million pesos was required.
During the current administration, over 31 billion pesos have been invested in modernizing the country’s customs houses, ten times more than during the previous administration. This effort will permit major projects to modernize customs houses such as those in Lázaro Cárdenas, Guadalajara and Tijuana.
Video of Hon. Gaspar Vega speech:
Mexico Pledges to Assist Belize With Connecting Road
Mexico has pledged to build the portion of the road that connects Belize to the new bridge connecting our two countries. At a ceremony held in Othon P Blanco Quintana Roo, Mexico on Friday, Mexican President, Felipe Calderon, said that with the opening of the bridge, further development will be generated economically and opportunities will be opened for families in the region.
“I celebrate that with this public project there will be a strengthening of the commerce and the movement of people between Belize and Mexico. Without a doubt it will turn to greater economic development for the region. It will generate more opportunities for people in the state of Quintana Roo likewise for citizens of Belize. As you may know the bridge that connect our countries was not at the level of the relationship we share; it did not have avenues for exportation and importation, what it has was beyond the capacity it can hold. At the onset of my presidency I proposed to be closer to countries south of Mexico like Guatemala and Belize our beloved neighbors and brothers.”
Deputy Prime Minister, Gaspar Vega, spoke at the inauguration and thanked the Mexican Government for the commitment to making the new, modern international bridge a reality. Vega also said that the boundaries that define our territories have required modern facilities that will allow for the growth of friendship, cooperation and an increasing flow of trade between our two countries. President Calderon added the new bridge is a modern facility that forms part of the modernization of all Mexican ports of entry and will now further expand the economic ties that both countries share.
“The saturation of viabilities, the lost in efficiently processing merchandise, the loss of time of people who cross the border will now be a thing of the once we start using the new facility. For that reason we took the task of adding specific areas of importation and exportation. Thanks to this, now the border here at subteniente Lopez will have areas that will promote the development of the customs operation and to assure the safety of personnel and have more efficiency in the processing of merchandise and entry of passengers on the buses and private vehicles. “
Calderon said the bridge was constructed at a cost of about 180 million pesos, or roughly 30 million Belize dollars. The new bridge has been opened but some 800 meters that leads to it on the Belize side remains to be constructed. Last week President Calderon sought the approval of the Mexican senate to allow members of the Mexican military to assist in the building of the 800 meters of road leading to the new facility on the Belize side.
Also discussed in the house today - with less heated disagreement - were the new border facilities in Mexico.
As we've reported, they've built the bridge and the road on their side - and are now waiting on Belize to do its part.
Speaking on the adjournment, the area representative for Corozal Southeast asked the Prime Minister when will Belize step up:..
Hon. Florencio Marin "We saw that the Mexican President who has one more day, today is his last official day as president, President Calderon inaugurating the bridge. The only thing about that is that you cross which I did just yesterday we are still using the old border and there are still no access to the new bridge and I would like for the government at least inform us as to when will this access come through."
"When going to the north Mr. Speaker if you look left you will see the bridge, its already there, everything is ready. The Mexican facilities are already in the place."
Hon. Dean Barrow "The rest of the infrastructure work that we need to do on our side is being funded by a loan that we got from CABEI (The Central American Bank of Economic Integration), now the processes of the bank were extraordinarily slow. In fact when I was in Honduras 3 or so weeks ago, I went to the bank and we spoke about that, But the contract has I believe now been signed. The contractor was chosen after the tenders were open and the letter of no objection from CABEI has been received so the works should commence I would imagine within another week or so."
It was also announced in the house today that 45 year old Lionel Arzu will be the new Ombudsman for a three year term starting in January of 2013.
Mexico sends military to help build road to international bridge
The Mexican Senate has authorized eleven members of the Mexican Army to cross the border of Belize and assist in the construction of a section of the road that links the international bridge between Belize and Mexico. Ninety two senators voted in approval of the request during a senate meeting on Thursday. The Mexican team will include a colonel, a captain, a lieutenant and eight Mexican Army Engineers. The Mexican military will not carry weapons for the duration of the four month period. The bridge is expected to help the flow of trade and tourism between the two countries. It was commissioned in the last days of President Felipe Calderon, but could not be inaugurated because the road had not been constructed.
A new bridge at the Belize/Mexico border has been in works for years. The commencement of the construction was dated to initiate in 2007 by both Mexico and Belize. Mexico started construction of their side of the bridge and has completed their task four years ago in 2009. Belize however began construction on our side of the bridge way back in 2007 as was agreed and still could not complete their part of the task in 2012. That is until recently when Mexico turned into the Good Samaritan. The Quintana Roo Ministry of Communications and Transport decided to pick up the slack and invested four million dollars to complete the infrastructure at the border providing all labour and materials. Today we took a tour to the work site.
When we arrived, our surprise was that tractors and trucks have been parked aside. The work has been completed and it only took three weeks of work to get the job done. However, the usage of the new international bridge named “Chactemal” will only be available after an official handing over by Mexican officials to Belize. According to Captain David Casanova, after the inauguration of the new bridge, his men will withdraw and return to Mexico. We will follow this story and bring you any new developments and the inauguration of the bridge.
Mexican Authorities Complete Bridge Spanning Belize and Mexico
A new bridge at the Belize/Mexico border has been completed after six years of construction works. It was supposed to be a joint operation carried out by both Belize and Mexico but back in 2009 Mexico had concluded its part of the bridge and works on this side of the border had not began. And so the Ministry of Communications and Transport in Quintana Roo Mexico decided to invest some four million dollars and complete the bridge. According to Mexican newspaper, the Tax Administration Service announced that the border port "Lieutenant Lopez II - Chactemal", which is the second international bridge access to Mexico from Belize, started operations today. Reporter Arturo Cantun has the story.
"The new crossing in Santa Elena border, Corozal and Subtiniente Lopez on the Mexican side has been opened to vehicular traffic as of today. Visiting the new facilities today show that both bridges are functioning but yet some restrictions. The new bridge which is about a quarter mile up river from the old bridge is opened to private vehicles only; the old bridge which is still functioning is opened to cargo trucks, motorcycles and pedestrians. Upon returning from Chetumal, private vehicles will utilize the old bridge to enter Belize. We understand the new bridge was opened this morning around 6 as a test run leading up to the inauguration at month's end. Mexican authorities describe the new border crossing as one of the most modern in Mexico."
According to Mexican newspaper, the permit for authorize Mexican to enter Belize was approved on December 11, 2012 but was put into effect until January 9, 2013. The Mexican military personnel began work on January 10th and ended on January 31st. In that 20 day period 550 meters of road was paved.
The much anticipated Bi-national Border Bridge between Mexico and Belize opens unceremoniously late last week. The Mexican Government had dispatched personnel from the Mexican Army to Belize to assist the Belizean government in the construction of a stretch of approximately 500 meters of highway that is located on the Belizean side of the northern border in the Santa Elena area of the Corozal District connecting the new bridge.
Belize and Mexico signed an agreement for the construction of the bridge back in June of 2005 when the then-President of Mexico, Vicente Fox, visited Belize. The Mexican government agreed to finance the construction of the bridge, 500 meters of road from the bridge into the Belizean territory, and the access road from the bridge to the Subteniente Lopez community in Santa Elena located in the state of Quintana Roo. Those projects were completed since 2008.
However, the Belize government was unable to construct the stretch of road, approximately 500 meters off the foot of bridge on the Belize side of border. The Mexican government said that the project was in reference to an agreement between the two governments that was first made in 2008 to open a new international bridge to encourage trade between the two countries. The Mexican government anticipates that the bridge will offer more efficient and secure movement of people and goods and will directly benefit more than 2,900 people living on both sides of the Belize-Mexico border.
The construction of the bridge and access road is estimated to have cost the Mexican government approximately 150 million pesos or at today's rate a little over twenty-seven million dollars in Belize currency. The new route is riddled with directional signs, so no one should get misdirected. We share some photos so you can follow the flow of traffic when you now travel to Mexico from the Corozal District, Belize. The Corozal Daily found the new experience of crossing the border flawless and the Mexican authorities were very polite and extremely helpful on all the directional and immigration questions we asked. We did not seem to have the bottle neck traffic jams once experienced at the old bridge crossing but can we have a better sign on our Belize side?
After leaving Immigration in Belize:
Check-in area, light vehicles go straight, buses go right. First window is immigration, park to get checked in and pay for spray. Vehicle will be sprayed at exit point.
As you continue, you'll see signs that clearly direct you toward Chetumal.
When you start home, drive under the bypass to leave the same way.
Corozal.bz note—before this article was posted we went to Chetumal. No warning about the new route but we were delighted! We did not drive under the bypass on the way home and ended up in Subteniente Lopez, which wasn't too bad but not what we intended!