Initial work for new Santa Elena Bridge
Work to construct a new bridge that will connect Santa Elena and San Ignacio has commenced. Minister of Works, and Area Representative for Cayo Central, Hon. Rene Montero told The Guardian on Wednesday ,October 17th that work started two weeks ago.
The project, which will cost some 58 million dollars, got under way with the signing of a contract between the Ministry of Works and CISCO Construction in April of this year. It has taken up until a couple weeks ago for the physical work to commence but, so far, it is well underway. In this phase of the project, the Loma Luz Boulevard will be paved leading up to the river. This is one of 4 components of the project.
The other component will also see the paving of Joseph Andrews Drive from Sacred Heart College to the intersection with the Benque Viejo Road. Another component is the filling of Joseph Andrews Drive up to the Macal River. And the last component is for the actual construction of the bridge.
Minister Montero says that while the work has commenced on the first lot, the bidding process is still open for the other three components. The contracts will be awarded by the Caribbean Development Bank, the financing agency, along with the Ministry of Works.
As for the supervision of the work, it will be done also by a consultant from the Caribbean Development Bank and engineers from the Ministry of Works.
The project is expected to last for two years and at the end of the project, the twin towns of San Ignacio and Santa Elena would have a two-lane bridge that connects them.
Currently, there are two bridges that connect the towns: the Hawkesworth Bridge and the Low-lying Bridge. However, these have become inadequate as the Hawkesworth can only allow for single lane traffic, causing congestion in the towns, while the Low-Lying Bridge gets flooded during heavy rains rendering it impassible. That bridge has also only one lane.