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#453811 - 12/19/12 08:04 AM Mayor Cuts Off Major Traffic Artery…At Christmas!?
Marty Offline
The Belcan roundabout - or the flag monument as it is also known - may be the busiest intersection in the country. But tonight the eight way intersection is like a heart with 15% blockage - because one of the main arteries has been closed - until next year!

You heard it right, the leg of the roundabout which leads to the Northern Highway has been shut off - and not just for a day - it will be weeks as they cement it.

Sounds like a crazy idea at Christmas time, but the Mayor says it's just got to be done, as part of the plan for the paving of Freetown Road:

Darrell Bradley - Mayor, Belize City Council
"We had already envisioned that we were going to do the roundabout, and about 100 feet unto the Northern Highway. And what we're going to do is that, we're going to remove the crosswalks, because that is a perennial problem in traffic congestion in the morning, and we're going to allow people - we're going to actually compel people to use the overpass, and it's supposed to be an ease in traffic. Actually we're trying to see if we could construct that section of the road, in a certain way where they entire road didn't need to be closed at any given time because there are different ways in which the contractor can actually operate. That work is actually being done by our own City Council staff, and what we are doing in that area is that, we're trying to - as much as is possible - minimize the work, and work as fast as possible to ensure that this thing is finished by New Year's."

Jules Vasquez
"However, it will certainly cause chaos at this time of year."

Darrell Bradley
"Well, I mean of course, our people are trying to see as best as possible, how we could do works that would minimize disruption to traffic. Again, I indicated you that our advisors were looking at ways that they could build the street. For example, they would build half of the street, and still allow traffic to flow on the other half. We will also do works in at least turning one lane of the highway into 2 lanes, and we're trying to, a best as possible, divert traffic along Coney Drive. The information that I received is that what they need to do is that and what they need to do is that they need to ensure, because of the high volume of traffic on that area of road, that it's well to be cured. So, it's not a situation where you could do it and then let it open in terms of sections so. I know that it's a disruption, but it's something that we want to ensure is that this entire project is finished as quickly as possible."

Jules Vasquez
"There's a saying that ambition bites the nails of success. Could this not have waited until after Christmas?"

Darrell Bradley
"Well, we wanted to really finish the project. Actually, we were behind schedule on Freetown Road. Again, our people are out there. We are trying to see how best we can minimize a situation which is an issue. Whenever we construct a street, there is disruption of traffic. And Jules, you don't have to tell me that it's Christmas. It's the busy time. It's a main access. I know all of these issues. We're trying as best as possible to finish the thing as quick as possible, so that we don't disrupt people more than we need to."

Due to the heavy traffic load, the concrete being used in the area is also of a higher grade than the one used on the streets - which is why it also takes longer to put down.

Channel 7

#454060 - 12/23/12 08:04 AM Re: Mayor Cuts Off Major Traffic Artery…At Christmas!? [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Businesses In Street Construction Area: "While Di Grass Di Grow"

And "unfair" is just what businesses along the northern highway are saying about the timing of the road works being done on the Northern Highway.

As we reported, as part of the paving of Freetown Road - the City Council is including the first one hundred yards of the northern highway.

That's ok for traffic which can be diverted to Coney Drive, for the businesses along that stretch, the diversion takes them out of the action. And while they're grateful for the paving, it's like that old saying, "while di grass di grow, di horse di starve" And for these businesses - Christmas is the worse time to starve.

Nolberto Rancharan, CP Gas Rep.
"We cannot understand why the Mayor would take such drastic measures in causing the traffic to be congested at the time of the season. Its affected the business so bad that the sales have drop over 75% and we have put ads in the papers and advising our customers, we have even open the entrance on Captain Eiley Drive so that they can have easier access to the gas station. We are just hoping that things would get better."

Monica Bodden
"You think that construction work could have been done after the holiday season?"

Nolberto Rancharan, CP Gas Rep.
"Oh definitely, like he said its only 100 yards. If they wanted to fix the street they could have work in the night - think about your people and all the congestion you are blocking. We only have one exit and that is Coney Drive. It's really affecting the business definitely."

Patrick Haylock, Manager - UNO
"The business has really dropped so far and especially right now that we have started our promotion this Monday when we are expected to get more sales it's not working out."

Monica Bodden
"Sales have drop to what percentage?"

Patrick Haylock, Manager - UNO
"About 40%-50%."

Monica Bodden
"Do you believe that these construction works could have happen after the Christmas holidays?"

Patrick Haylock, Manager - UNO
"I believe so. I guess the government for the flow of traffic for the kids in school time, because school is out that it would affect, buts its affecting us really bad."

Monica Bodden
"Any last words?"

Patrick Haylock, Manager - UNO
"I would just like them to try hurry up finish the construction at least so the flow of traffic can come through."

Monica Bodden
"You guys think that you are losing a lot on business over this Christmas holiday?"

Patrick Haylock, Manager - UNO
"Yes we will be losing a lot business."

Erlette Lino, Supervisor - A&R
"What is happening is very bad for business. Our sales have dropped tremendously like our sales for the year usually be like $10,000 but right now our sales is very low. Even customers are complaining, they don't know how to come in. Sometimes I tell them that the only other option you have is to go up stop because we don't have the parking facilities and then when they cross on the other side of the road that when the problem arise again."

Monica Bodden
"Because another business is right across the street."

Erlette Lino, Supervisor - A&R
"We have Courts on the other side, we have A&R over this side and we have two other gas stations beside us as well."

Monica Bodden
"Do you believe that maybe the construction work could have done after the Christmas holiday?"

Erlette Lino, Supervisor - A&R
"Yes I do believe so. At least they could have discussed it with the businesses and check and see. Any time after Christmas, even in the night - a lot of customers say even the night could have made the situation much better."

Due to the heavy traffic, that will be paved with a high-grade concrete which has to fully cure before the street is opened. And that means it will be closed until about the New Year.

Channel 7

#454515 - 01/03/13 08:36 AM Re: Mayor Cuts Off Major Traffic Artery…At Christmas!? [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Construction at Belize City entrance soon complete

If it is necessary for you to exit Belize City and head towards the north of the country, you probably diverted to Coney Drive because of ongoing construction at the entrance of the City. It’s an upgrade that’s not popular with some motorists, but the Mayor says it’s all part of making traffic flow easier through the City’s main artery.

Darrell Bradley, Belize City Mayor

“That project is part of the Freetown Road Project. And essentially what we wanted to do is that we wanted to take that road from Barrack Road all the way to about a hundred and fifty feet on to the Northern Highway. And it is part of our improving traffic management at the roundabout. Essentially what we are doing is that we are removing the pedestrian walks at roundabout and we are putting a barricade there and we are cementing that area of road and we are compelling the people to use the overpass and we feel that that will create a smooth flow of traffic; especially in the morning when there is heavy congestion at that point. The persons who are doing that section of the road are City Council personnel and half of it is already completed and should be open between today and tomorrow—they are just allowing the road to cure. And when that is open, they will allow traffic to flow on that half of the Northern Highway and then they will commence the other half. It takes them one week and a half to do each section. So we anticipate by the fifteenth of January the whole stretch of road from that section all the way to Barrack Road will be open.”

Jose Sanchez

“And for those people who questioned the timing and said you interrupted their Christmas shopping; it was a bad time. Your response?”

Darrell Bradley

“There will always be criticism and essentially the advice that I got was it is choosing between the Christmas holidays and the heavy traffic that is obtains when the school session is on. And we opted to do it during the Christmas holiday because we felt that that would have been an easier flow. What we did is we had posted additional traffic officers at that point at the roundabout and also right in front of the K.H.M.H. to divert traffic along Coney Drive. And I have done personal inspections there several times and I’ve noticed that the traffic is not much interrupted. People need to understand that any time you do a road upgrade, there will be interruptions, but what we are looking at is trying to get the road completed as quickly as possible and trying to minimize whatever interruptions there would be.” 

Channel 5

#454640 - 01/05/13 07:55 AM Re: Mayor Cuts Off Major Traffic Artery…At Christmas!? [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

New Year, But Mayor Still Can't Open Highway

And while the Mayor says City Hall isn't trying to make money on the Cemetery - the businesses along the first mile of the Northern Highway say they are losing money because the Council has not completed concrete paving the first one hundred yards of the highway in time. Today the Mayor said they are waiting for the cement to cure properly:..

Mayor Darrell Bradley
"Our people are just waiting for the half of the road that has been completed to be cured and then they will open that section of the Northern Highway to traffic and they are going to start work on the other section. Freetown Road is supposed to be finish by next week Friday and then they will do the roundabout and the whole project will be completed. I am expecting that the entire thing will be completed in another two weeks. The Freetown Road/Northern Highway project is something which will be a very good drive for residents of Belize City. It's 1.3 miles of road at a cost of about $630,000.00. I indicated earlier that part of it includes re-structuring the traffic flow on the Northern Highway; we are going to remove the cross walks and we are going to force people to actually use the overpass because we put a barricade there. We called that an A class road and then we are going to work on the niceties in terms of the painting and the signage just to ensure that all the streets that we've done are up to international standards."

Channel 7


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