Mayor Darrell Bradley Speaks about Street project
The street works continue around Belize City and yesterday when we sat down with Maor Darrell Bradley we asked for an update.
MAYOR DARRELL BRADLEY
“We are right now at 125 streets. Because of our projects we are kind of very mindful that we want to finish a lot of work going on into the rainy season. Right now we are finishing up Seashore drive which looks very nice; we are doing York Street and Lancaster Street. I am getting bids for the extension of Vernon Street and I am talking about the other side of Vernon Street across from Central American Boulevard onto the Western Highway. We are also looking at extending King Street from Canal to Canal that is one of the bids we are looking at also. We are going to finish West Canal, we did East Canal that is to be finished from Bishop Street to Regent Street West and then we are going to finish that and we are going to do West Canal and we are connecting a lot of the areas. So within the next three weeks we are going to be launching ten additional projects; of course we are still on George Street and West Street. We have about eight projects going on, eight separate streets going on in the city and within the next two weeks or so we will be launching an additional ten streets. Of course we have to be very mindful of all our financial obligations. Some of this is being shouldered by the city council itself out of our operational budget, a lot of it is being paid for by the central government in terms of the final gifting of the ten million dollars that they gave to us and we are doing a significant amount of works also with the pre-pave status. The city council has done about forty streets. When we do our commercials we name the streets that we have done particularly in the south side of Belize City so that it’s a combination of works. Of course we are also doing our regular patching works and we are spending a lot of time and resources also on drainage and I feel reasonably satisfied. Within the last two and a half years we have made a serious dent to the point where we can comfortably say that between one in four and one in three streets in the entire city has been concreted only within a two and a half year period. The larger vision is for us to set up what is called an infrastructure mechanism. We already have the infrastructure fund which we set up with the bond system but what we want to do is tie resources in to that. I mentioned this earlier on in our tenure where we want to require by law that thirty five cents out of every dollar that the City council takes in has to be spent on road construction. That is the biggest thing that’s mentioned in the City Council act and we hope, and this will be legislated this is something that will be by law. So any future mayor has to continue the infrastructure program and we are talking about things like parking meters, assigning all traffic revenues which is about four million dollars for the time being so that all of those things will go into this fund and capitalize this fund, it’s going to be a revolving non-discretionary fund ran by a board which is chaired by the mayor. It’s going to have auditors who will review this and will review the spending ensuring that contracts are properly tendered and I think that within a seven year period every single street in Belize City could be cemented and that is the long term vision.”
A number of concerned residents, especially owners of low vehicles have complained about the size of the street bumps being placed on the streets. Mayor Bradley says he has not personally received any of the complaints however a number of factors play into how those are placed.
MAYOR DARRELL BRADLEY
“What we have done is in the later parts of the project we recognized that we had to be more multi-focused in terms of my approach; we had to think about safety. For example we notice excessive speeding on Streets like Freetown road, we have noticed increased numbers in traffic accidents especially minor accidents within Belize city and what we did at the council level is that we took a concerted effort that we would have engaged the contractors to include safety features on the road including speed bumps. I know that we do use to types of speed bumps; there is the smaller one which is of course cheaper and there is the cross walk which is our preference because it incorporates pedestrian access brightly colored ramp access and all of those things so that is the best but of course in terms of budget it is an issue because a speed bump could run you as much in terms of cross walk and everything as much as $10,000 with the steel and depending on everything. In terms of the smaller one that is of course cheaper and that tends to be more of an abrupt pause and going over it so that its perhaps that persons are complaining about but it’s done in an effort to take in account the budget and also to ensure that we have adequate safety features on the road.”
September is the month of parades and of course the carnival road march. We asked Mayor Bradley whether work on the streets would be ready in time.
MAYOR DARRELL BRADLEY
“We look at the access ways, significant portions of it are completed and they have been working on making the streets ready in terms of giving people a more enjoyable ride experience on the way while they are partying and enjoying themselves. So what residents will enjoy this year is a much better experience because we already looked at the route, we already inspected it and made sure that whatever streets are not completed they will make ready for easy access on Carnival day and the other parade events so it’s not only Carnival we are looking at. We are looking at the 10th and 21st and those other kinds of festivities but that is not something we had looked at very early on from about May or June and several inspections. We’ve talked to each of the contractors including CISCO who are working on the various street works and they are working very closely with us and also with NICH so that there is no interruption and everything is perfect for the September Celebrations.”