The board of directors of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) has approved a loan of US$36.6 million and a grant of £25 million to the government of Belize, to upgrade the Coastal Highway. The funds will be used to improve climate resilience along the road, and increase connectivity between the southern and northern sections of Belize.
“The project will have a transformative impact in nearby communities by reducing travel time, improving access to services such as health and education, and boosting economic development. Currently, the distance between the northern and southern districts, specifically between Dangriga and Belize City is around 119 km via the paved George Price and Hummingbird Highways. This project is expected to upgrade the Coastal Highway from an unpaved gravel road to a paved road, and in doing so reduce travel distances to 45 km between the north and south of Belize,” said Daniel Best, director, Projects Department, CDB.
The Sixth Road (Coastal Highway Upgrading) Project is also expected to improve climate resilience along the road. Currently, the highway is prone to flooding, as significant portions of the road are low-lying. The investments will support bridge repairs and replacement, pavement upgrading and safety improvements.
In particular, the communities of La Democracia, Gales Point, Mullins River and Hope Creek will have improved access to economic participation and employment opportunities. The project also includes consultancy services to enhance the capacity of these communities to take advantage of the economic benefits that the highway upgrade is likely to provide.
The grant funding for the project is being provided by the United Kingdom Caribbean Infrastructure Partnership Fund (UKCIF), which is administered by CDB. UKCIF provides grant financing to eight Caribbean countries eligible for Overseas Development Assistance, and UK Overseas Territory, Montserrat.
This project is consistent with CDB’s strategic objective of supporting inclusive and sustainable growth and development, as well as the bank’s corporate priority of strengthening and modernising social and economic infrastructure.Caribbean News Now