City Hall and Ministry both want to improve Northern Highway
In what seems to be political irony of some note…while Mayor Darrell Bradley and the Belize City Council are being praised by leader of the Opposition Francis Fonseca for their good work, they are being yanked to a screeching halt by the Ministry of Works. Remember the Mayor’s big plans to construct a new four-lane highway to replace the seriously dilapidated Phillip Goldson International Airport? Well the Ministry of Works is saying NOT SO FAST! Today Bradley told us that it’s unfortunate that politics needs to get in the way of projects to benefit the people.
Darrell Bradley, Belize City Mayor
“We are going through ongoing discussions. Of course we would want to do the Northern Highway project. We’ve already done the feasibility studies. We’ve done research and looked at the amount of vehicles in terms of putting together the financing for that by way of an inbound toll, a modest inbound toll. We’re already doing a design from the first roundabout to the Chetumal Boulevard right here where there’s supposed to be a roundabout in the middle of the Northern Highway. We are consulting with the Ministry of Works. Of course they had expressed to us the jurisdictional issue that highways fall under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Works. But we have maintained that this is a street. The speed limit along this highway is still twenty-five miles because it comes within the jurisdiction of Belize City. And we have indicated to them and I wish to restate the sentiment mentioned by the leader of the Opposition…that all sectors of our government and political parties need to come together. There should not be a turf war between the municipality and the Ministry of Works. We just want to see the project get done and we want to see it get done within a reasonable period of time for the benefit of residents in the community. I think that that project is very significant and critical because of the level of business activity that’s being done on the Northern Highway.”
“But right now it’s at a standstill because of the no-go from the Ministry of Works?”
“They’ve indicated to us their position that the Northern highway, this stretch of road, is under their jurisdiction and they had indicated to us that we could meet, we could sit down and we could share with them our plans and they could share with us their plans. But of course our main issue is to get this project started as fast as possible. Our projection puts this project at costing about ten million dollars and it will require one year to be completed. I only have two years, less than two years in office and I would want this road completed before I leave office.”