Drainage is a major problem in Belize City generally, more so with climate change, and even more so with those fancy new streets that were built without drainage.

But that drainage should improve: Today the Ministry of Works and Transport along with their partners in the Flood Mitigation Infrastructure Project signed 4 contracts for the concreting and lining of the Douglas Jones Canal, North side Canal as well as Link Road, Apollo Street and the Bill Lindo Canal in Belama Phases 3 and 4. Chief Engineer of the Ministry of Works and Transport, explained the importance of the upgrade:

Courtney Weatherburne
"In terms of the infrastructure, do these factor in the climate change mitigation feature?"

Lennox Bradley, Chief Engineer, Min. of Works and Transport
"You brought up a very good point because the recent projects that we have started to design - all those IFI funded projects and those that we contemplate under the national infrastructure program will consider the climate change impact. It's a reality that we have to face now - it's here. We all know that a road that is constructed without drainage won't last, so the drainage has to be a complimentary part of the road construction. The actual works that we are contemplating under the flood infrastructure mitigation program which is being jointly by the IDB and the government of Belize does look at climate change impacts and does look at mitigating the flood issue in Belize City. The main objective of the project is trying to mitigate the flood events in there, it's not to stop it because we all know the reality is that Belize is at maybe one foot in some areas above sea level, so flooding will be an issue. But what we hope to achieve with the flood mitigation infrastructure program is to try reduce the duration and the impact from the flooding in the area."

The cost of the 4 contracts is $5,718,455.77. The Flood Mitigation Infrastructure Project is scheduled to end in 2016.

Bradley also updated us on other major projects - including the sugar roads - as the cane season is finished and preparations are being made for another:

Lennox Bradley, Chief Engineer, Min. of Works and Transport
"The sugar if I could put it this way it's under the accompanying measures for sugar; it's sort of a grunt agreement that the government of Belize has with the European Union and it's over a time period. They have a set list of road that they will upgrade. The process is ongoing. Several roads have already been completed in both Orange Walk and Corozal Districts. In the past we had some of the roads upgraded to an unpaved standard, but because of the resilience issues that you all brought up we have made a change to the design and we are upgrading all sugar roads under the program to pave standard."

There are also major plans for the Haulover Bridge - which is a CDB funded project:

Lennox Bradley, Chief Engineer, Min. of Works and Transport
"The government does have a plan for the highways and we are giving it priority. In terms of the Belize District area, we have three sections of that northern highway that the government is quite advance with the IFIs to upgrade to pave standard and as part of those three sections the Haulover Bridge will be replaced. We will have a new Haulover Bridge there and what we intend to do with the existing Haulover Bridge is to repair that because the structural integrity is still at a level where we could use and we will try to use it elsewhere within the country."

And highways generally will also see improvement:

Lennox Bradley, Chief Engineer, Min. of Works and Transport
"The southern highway is fairly in good shape, the Hummingbird highway, action has already been taken by the government to really improve the entire 55 miles. The George Price Highway, we have the section between Belize City and Belmopan that the CDB is upgrading to improve safety and now the IDB will be improving from Belmopan to the border, so I could say that within the next 4 years all our national highway system supposed to be at a very improved standard."

Channel 7

5 Million to Be Spent on City Canals and Streets

Four contracts were signed this morning for the carrying out of infrastructural works around the country. The contract signing took place in the Conference Room of the Ministry of Works and Transport on Power Lane in the City of Belmopan. During today’s signing ceremony, the Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Works, Errol Gentle explained what the four contracts are for.

Errol Gentle: “We’ll be signing four contracts. The first being the Bill Lindo Canal which is the construction of the concrete lined canal and that is at a cost of $892,250 with the Government of Belize and Maehia’s United. Then we have the Douglas Jones Canal which is the construction of a concrete lined covered canal at a cost of $1,813,629.88 and this will be signed with Medina’s Construction. We also have the North Side Canal which is the cleaning of the existing canal and lining of with sheet pile with Medina’s construction at a total cost of $1,935,150 and fourthly, Apollo Street to Belama Phase 4; that is the upgrading of the street and this will be signed with M&R construction at a total cost of $1,077,425.86; all to the grand total of $5,718,455.74.”

Meanwhile, Minister of Works, Rene Montero, in his presentation spoke of the time frame given for these works to be completed.

Rene Montero: “The duration for these projects is: for the Bill Lindo canal which is the construction of the concrete lining is a period of 8 months. We expect that this project will be completed next year May, if all conditions are favorable. Then we have the Douglas Jones Canal construction of the concrete lining and covered canal which is for a period of 10 months. The completion date is for the middle of July of 2015. The other project which is the North Side Canal, cleaning of existing canal and lining which is also for a period of 10 months is expected to be completed also on the 5th of July 2015. The Apollo Street, the period for that is 8 months and it is also expected to be completed next year in May.”

The companies who were granted contracts include Maheia’s United, Medina’s Construction Company Limited and M & R Construction Company. The four contracts signed are for a total of five million seven hundred and eighteen thousand, four hundred and fifty five dollars and seventy four cents. As for other infrastructural projects happening, Montero spoke of works being carried out in his constituency, Cayo Central as well as other portions of the twin towns in western Belize.

Rene Montero: “In Cayo Central we have been starting now to do concreting of the streets because we feel that in terms of the life of the streets it will be longer and it will offer an aesthetic value to the towns. We have the Bishop Martin Street that is ongoing right now and we are concreting that street for a value of half a million dollars. We also have in the pipe line the Requena Street in Santa Elena and we have a number of streets that we are going to concrete in Santa Elena to transform it into a town that is the envy of all. We are also starting the bridge that will connect the twin towns through the Loma Luz Boulevard, that is being done through funding by the CDB and the contractor is CISCO.”

The signing had the presence of the Project Manager for the Flood Mitigation Infrastructure Project, Rolando Chan; Chief Engineer, Lennox Bradley among others from the Ministry of Works.