Coastal Road to The Future
The Coastal Road is kind of like a secret weapon - from all those who dare to use it, it's a great shortcut to the south. But, by the time you're done, you may feel like your insides are scrambled!
Well, now, the Government of Belize wants to pave that nearly 37 miles of road.
But it's going to be a while before the upgrade works actually start.
The Government signed a contract today with an Italian Engineering and Consultancy Firm to conduct a a 10-month feasibility study. The company is called Politecnica (Poli-technica), and today, in a rare invitation to the press, the Ministry of Works invited us to attend the contract signing. Here's what the Works Minister had to say about the project:
Hon. Rene Montero - Minister of Works
"It is the first step that is the design and feasibility study. We put it out to tender, and 12 foreign companies applied. And we shortlisted 4. CDB, which is responsible for this project, selected Politecnia of Italy. They are the ones that won the contract. It's a study, and once it's completed, then we are are going to put it to tender for upgrading and paving of that road. The contract is for $995,000 US, and it's for 10 months, and it will be for the entire Coastal Road, which we call the Manatee Road, which is about 36.2 miles. Once it is completed, the bank will give the okay that we can proceed and put it to tender. We have our engineer, who is the consultant, Mr. Gilharry. He will be the Ministry consultant to ensure that the company fulfills its contractual obligations. These funds are actually a grant from the UK Government, and its hundred million dollars. We're going to approximately about 80 million dollars to do the feasibility study, to do the design, and actual construction. And the balance of about 20 million dollars, we're going to be use it to upgrade the Philip Goldson Highway. We have been negotiating with funding agencies from when I came here about almost 5 years, when I came to this ministry. And that was one of my priorities, to ensure that the Coastal Road is paved, because as you would know, that's the only highway that's not paved in this country. Once we paved that Coastal Highway, then we'll have all the main highways in this country paved."
Representative, Politecnica Consultancy Firm
"I understand the importance of this road for your country. I understand the importance of the funds from the UK because this road is crucial, not only for the specific region for all over your country. So, our scope will be of course to provide all the efforts, all the best to have the consultancy as per the TOR, as per contract, fulfilled within 10 months. I know about the importance to be on time in this project."
H.E. Peter Hughes - British High Commissioner
"This will make an enormous difference to transportation in this country, to access to the south, and it will open up that whole area for tourism, and for ecological works. So, we are very pleased by this, and this will also be the beginning of a two-phase project, where we will also be working on the Philip Goldson Highway, to the Mexican Border. I am very happy to be here. I am very happy to see some movement, and I wish you all very well with the project for the 10 months, and we look forward to starting construction as soon as possible."
The contract with Politecnica (Poli-technica) for this feasibility study is valued at $995,000 US dollars.
Designing a New Coastal Highway
The Ministry of Works signed a contract with Italian consultancy firm Politecnica for a feasibility study and detailed designs for the upgrading of the coastal road. Politecnica is the same firm consulted for the rehab of the Haulover Bridge. For the coastal road, the consultancy fee is nine hundred and ninety-five thousand U.S. dollars or close to two million Belize dollars, which doesn’t include local taxes. The detailed design of the coastal highway will allow for the upgrading of thirty-six point two miles of road to paved standard built for resiliency against climate change impacts. The project will be completed in ten months. Technical assistance is being jointly funded by the Government of Belize along with a grant from the Caribbean Development Bank using resources provided by the UK’s Caribbean Infrastructure Partnership Fund. Minister of Works Rene Montero speaks on the scope of work that almost two million Belize dollars will cover.
Rene Montero, Minister of Works
“Geo-technical investigation; climate vulnerability assessment; traffic analysis; environmental and social impact assessment; climate adaption measures to build resilience in our road network; drainage design; road safety initiative and awareness. The design for replacement refurbishment of thirteen bridges; closing of different spans on the road. The detail design of the coastal highway will allow for the upgrading of thirty-six point two miles of fifty-eight kilometers of road to standards, inclusive of climate adaption measures to build resilience against climate change impacts. The consultancy study to be completed between ten calendar months after contract signing.”
Alessio Gori, Politecnica Consultancy Firm
“This road is crucial, not only for the specific region but for all over the country. So, our mission – our scope will be to provide all the efforts all the best to have the consultancy as per TOR, as per contract fulfilled within ten months. I am aware about the importance to be on time in this project and to have a good project.”
Peter Hughes, British High Commissioner to Belize
“This will make an enormous difference to transportation in this country, to access to the south and it will open up that whole area for tourism and ecological works. So, we are very pleased by this and this will also be the beginning of a two phased project where will also be working on the Philip Goldson Highway to the Mexican border.”