New Bridges in the North and South of Belize

[Linked Image] The minister of Works, Hon. Anthony Boots Martinez along with Area Representative for Belize Rural North Hon. Edmund Castro; and CEO in the ministry of Works, Cadet Henderson officially inaugurated the Mexico Creek Bridge located at near mile 20 on the Northern Highway.

The 45 foot span bridge consists of steel beams and a concrete deck along with
sidewalks and hand rails on both sides of the bridge. It also features approach slabs which minimizes the settlement of dirt and dust near to the bridge’s approach. Minister of Works, Hon. Anthony Boots Martinez explains that it was very important to place a bridge on the highway to ensure that the commuting public are not cut off whenever there is a flooding event. In the past the area was prone to collapses of the culverts that were once in place where the bridge now passes. Henderson says that the bridge replaces a 15 foot cylindrical culvert which was the largest in the country. He adds that the bridge has the capacity for water flow of up to 7 times the amount that the culvert was able to handle.

Hon. Martinez says that the placement of the bridge is “prudent management” since there is now no need to have to replace culverts in times of flooding. In addition to that Martinez explained that simultaneous to improved infrastructure, proper maintenance is key to ensure long life for the infrastructure.

Area representative Hon. Edmund Castro explained that in the past flooding used to occur on the highway since the existing culvert would stop the flow of water to the Jones lagoon in the rainy season from the Belize river and from the lagoon to the Belize River during the dry season. The bridge he says will now allow for the free flow of water to and from the two bodies of water.

The bridge was constructed at a cost of .84 million dollars and is one of six bridges that are being financed by the Inter American Development Bank. Other bridges that have been constructed with the IADB funding include the low-lying timber bridge between Santa Elena and San Ignacio, one in Cristo Rey, in Santa Familia, in Billy White and a timber bridge in Roaring River. Combined the bridges come at a cost of 2.6 million dollars.

While the Mexico Creek Bridge is complete and open to the public, another that is nearing completion is the one at Middlesex in the Stann Creek District. Construction on that bridge commenced in November of last year and is scheduled for completion by next month. The Middlesex bridge is funded by the government of Belize and the European Union and will see the bridge expanded from a single lane bridge that existed previously to a two lane one. The approach of the bridge is also being widened and measures are being put in to minimize erosion of the banks of the river in case of major flooding events.Both bridges had to be constructed after flooding events washed them away in 2008.

Live and let live