1st phase of Pen Road refurbishment
Graders and other heavy duty machines have never looked as delightful as they do today. It has been a very long time since our city streets have seen the level of refurbishment that is currently being executed by the Ministry of Works. Most of the streets have long passed their fifteen to twenty year service period and pothole patching is no longer useful since the infrastructural core has succumbed to injuries caused by inexcusable neglect.
The first impactful infrastructural project in Belize City since the 1993-1998 administration is in full swing and residents across the old capital are welcoming the noisy machines in their neighborhoods. Nowhere is this more evident than on Neal’s Pen Road. For more than a week now residents of Pen Road have gladly cooperated with employees of the Belize Water Services Limited who are executing Phase I of that refurbishment project. Residents have cooperated by changing routes to work/school daily according to the section of the street being worked on by the BWSL crew. BWSL is relining their pipe system on the street to meet the standards necessary for the double dressing chip and seal paving that will be executed on Pen Road from its junction with Faber’s Road to Yarborough Bridge. With proper maintenance, the newly paved street should effectively serve residents of the area for fifteen years.
Pen Road is just one of the many streets that heavy machines are visiting. In an interview with the Minister of Works, Hon. Anthony “Boots” Martinez, he explained that street repairs and refurbishment is currently being undertaken across the city. Minister Martinez said that the Government of Belize has set aside $1 million for north side streets. With this, the Buttonwood Bay Boulevard, Hummingbird Street and Juliet Soberanis Street projects have been completed. Albert Hoy Street, Park Avenue and University Crescents are among others on which repairs and refurbishment is currently being executed or is about to be executed upon. Later in the year an additional $10 million will be provided under an Inter-American Development Bank project for North side infrastructural development. Minister Martinez said the funds will be used to address more streets and develop the drainage system for the Belama area.
Minister Martinez emphasized that the north side projects will not slow down Phase II of the Southside Project. In addition to the repaving of Pen Road, Faber’s Road will be refurbished from its junction with the Western Highway to its junction with Caesar Ridge Road. The squatters on Jane Usher Boulevard have already been relocated and that street will finally be developed to effectively serve residents of that area. The canal from Yarborough Bridge to Vernon Street Bridge will be lined with cement and properly barricaded.
That of course will most likely be accompanied by street repair of the entire stretch. Perhaps the boldest project will be the first to be completed, hot mix paving of Central American Boulevard. Central American Boulevard will be paved with hot mix from the Belcan Bridge to its junction with Caesar Ridge Road. The reason this project will be realized shortly is because the hot mix material is already here in the country. The boulevard does not need extensive preparatory work for the hot mix process. According to Minister Martinez, the project will commence at the end of March or in early April and will take a month to complete. Based on that, it is safe to say that pedestrians and motorists will be enjoying a first class boulevard by May of this year.
In addition to the Southside projects mentioned, Minister Martinez said that several secondary streets will be repaved as well under this phase. Those include Benbow Street, Mex Avenue, Gill Street, Baracat Street, Guerrero Street, Ross Pen Road, Reggae Street and others.