Over a thousand residents live in the village of Crooked Tree, which is a protected area in the Belize District. But tonight, there is concern that the causeway, which links the village to the Phillip Goldson Highway, is presenting a hazard for those commuting to and from the village. Less than a year after it was elevated, a portion of the causeway has collapsed into the lagoon and residents say that urgent attention is required. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.
Duane Moody, Reporting
The Crooked Tree Causeway covers a mile of Hummingbird Road, which links the village of Crooked Tree to the Phillip Goldson Highway. Annually, villagers face the perennial problem when the causeway is submerged by the flooding of the lagoon in the area. In 2015, however, through Petrocaribe funds, about half a mile of the causeway near the two bridges was elevated. It’s been almost a year since that two hundred and fifty thousand dollar project was completed, but for the past two weeks, portions of the road have collapsed.
George Guest, Resident
“When the rains came on Monday or Tuesday, I tell them that they can’t start digging out the causeway because the causeway had already broken away. But they stick with their finger and it rained the evening. It rain and it rained and it rained and it stopped at one o’clock in the morning. When the buses started to go out, they knocked the thing down and so the buses had to go at an angle because the road had already collapsed.”
Today, several excavators were providing a temporary fix to the collapsed portion of the causeway. It’s a matter of emergency, says Village Chairman Darrell Tillett, because it presents a hazard to commuters and tourists on the roads, especially heavy vehicles such as buses and trucks which travel along the causeway daily.
Darrell Tillett, Chairman, Crooked Tree Village
“Two weeks ago, it happened and then they come and fix it and now it start happening again this week. I keep calling; I called the Minister yesterday, I called Lennox Bradley, I called C.E.O. Gentle and I called Mister Wade. They say they wah come and do it. So far they start but it slow and it could be dangerous; people could lose life if the bus or any other vehicle could enter the lagoon. You have the resorts, the hotels complaining because they could get a lot of people from the cruise ships, but the buses they don’t want to come in because of the terrible condition of the road.”
“I give everybody a warning on Facebook. If you are entering or leaving Crooked Tree, please drive carefully cause it is not safe.”
Resident and former Village Chairman George Guest believes that the causeway was not properly constructed.
“It is not the ministry of works fault; it’s the private company that come and built the causeway. I don’t know the specifications, but he never did the proper thing in the first place. It should have a retaining wall so that it holds the stuff in. they not compact it not once…no roller has been on there so when it rains all it does is crack.”
Tillett believes that the village has been abandoned.
“They need to take this thing into serious consideration; if the Minister in charge is not doing anything, then the prime minister needs to come up and see what’s going on in the community. Not only the causeway, you have streets in the village that need to be taken care of and we are tired of calling and calling and nothing is getting done. Look at the one right here…people going to their farms, they can’t get in; they have to use another road in the back. And you have not too far from here on the east of my road here, it’s terrible. And not only that, yo have a lot of road that needs to be fixed.”
“Do you feel that the village is being neglected?”
“Of course, in some ways it is neglected of course. I am not trying to blast anyone, but we need help back here with our road condition, especially the causeway and the road from the junction.”
Duane Moody for News Five.