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Joined: Oct 1999
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Marty Offline OP
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If you commute to and from Belize City via the Philip Goldson Highway, you would notice that construction of the new Haulover Bridge is already underway. Today, the Minister of Infrastructure Development also confirmed that remedial work will soon commence on the portion of the highway where the embankment had washed away. But there is a bigger concern facing the ministry. Minister Julius Espat says that the BelCan and Swing Bridges are in bad condition and need to be replaced as soon as possible.

Julius Espat, Minister of Infrastructure Development

"Swing Bridge has to be replaced, but because of the work that was recently done, it prolongs the life a little bit more. The one that worries me is the BelCan. The BelCan Bridge is in a state of disrepair and only if you go under the bridge will you understand it. So with that, I went and I am seeking financing - I think we are very close to obtain financing to replace both the Swing Bridge and the BelCan Bridge because if not somebody will get hurt and we don't want that. But getting back to your question, the Haulover Bridge is on stream, they are on schedule. We also have the portion of that road after the Haulover that got washed away by the river, the retaining walls have been casted, they are curing right now and after that, they will be placed."

Channel 5


Joined: Oct 1999
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Marty Offline OP
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Swing Bridge On Its Last Leg

7News has received a copy of an internal report from the Ministry of Infrastructure Development and Housing, which details a thorough under-deck inspection of all the bridges in Belize City.

And the professionals from the Ministry's Project Execution Unit are signaling their concern that these bridges are in a severe state of disrepair. Persons who have seen these photographs are horrified at the state of the Swing Bridge and the Belcan Bridge, and they are concerned that they could give way in the near future and threaten the lives of motorists.

On the Swing Bridge, the professionals recommend replacement. They say quote, "With the age of 100 years, the bridge structure is at the end of its natural service life and should be replaced. Even though there is not a complete failure or collapse, the structural members have deteriorated to the point that they are no longer able to safely sustain their design loading. It is recommended that all heavy traffic, including public bus transportation, cease using this bridge structure..." End quote.

They also recommend that the BelCan bridge should be repaired, and several parts should be replaced.

They say, "The Bel Can superstructure and abutments are in fair condition. Routine maintenance to these elements will keep them in good working order. The center foundation supporting the double cantilever swinging two center spans is in fair to good condition. Routine maintenance in the form of cleaning, sandblasting and painting would ensure structural integrity is maintained. The two intermediate center piers have failed and are unrepairable; they must be replaced. It is likely that the concrete used in their construction was not of the best quality. One of the piers may, at some point, have sustained the collision of an object. Nevertheless, if the two piers are not replaced, a complete failure may occur, in which the integrity of the superstructure and deck surface may be compromised."

For the BelChina bridge, the project execution team recommends periodic and routine maintenance. They say that structurally, this bridge is in good shape. Regular maintenance in the demolition and replacement of the wooden crash barriers and erosion protection works to the north abutment will safeguard the foundation elements.

Two months ago, the topic came up in our conversation with the Infrastructure Development Minister, Julius Espat, and here's what he had to say:

Julius Espat - PUP Area Rep., Cayo South
"We did some engineering analysis of the Swing Bridge, and I did - I specifically told the engineers to take a boat and go under the Bel China to do an analysis and to go under the Belcan Bridge. The three reports came in. Swing Bridge has to be replaced. But, because of the work that was recently done, it prolongs the life a little bit more. The one that worries me is the Belcan. The Belcan Bridge is in a state of disrepair that only if you go under the bridge will you understand. So, I went, and I am seeking financing. I think we are very close to obtaining financing to replace both the Swing Bridge and the Belcan Bridge because if not, somebody will get hurt, and we don't want that."

We understand that a portion of tomorrow's supplementary appropriation bill will include funding to conduct feasibility studies on the two bridges that are most damaged from wear and tear.

Channel 7


Joined: Oct 1999
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Marty Offline OP
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Belize City Bridges in Bad Condition; BelCan Needs to be Replaced Soon

As you may know, works have already begun to construct a new bridge to replace the Haulover Bridge, which connects Belize City to the northern part of the country. And it would seem that the BelCan, BelChina and Swing Bridges in Belize City also need replacing.� Back in May, Minister of Infrastructure Development Julius Espat shared his ministry's concern about the deplorable condition of these bridges. He shares the findings of the analysis conducted by engineers on the bridges across the city.

Julius Espat, Minister of Infrastructure Development

"We are doing a feasibility study. I got the opportunity to insert the three bridges as a part of the feasibility and that's why the initial report was done. Now that we have gotten the approval, the engineers are now working on a preliminary design to be able to come up with the first estimates. Of the three bridges, the BelChina is the best; that needs like normal maintenance - painting and stuff like that. The second is Swing Bridge in how it is holding up. The Belize City Council had done some work a couple years ago and that alleviated it a bit, but it is just like a band-aid effect. The major one is the BelCan. We will have to make a proposal as to that. Yes the buses and heavy traffic is what they are referring to; it does create more stress on these structures and so we are trying to mitigate it to a point where nobody gets hurt. But if you are looking at the three bridges, priority number one is BelCan at this point in time, priority number two is Swing Bridge and we will deal with the BelChina with the resources that we have in house present."

Minister Espat says that the Hawkesworth Bridge in the west is also being refurbished at this time.

Channel 5



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