Hawkesworth Bridge El Cayo, British Honduras, long ago
The Hawkesworth bridge was opened on Saturday August 20th 1949 and was named after the late Sir Edward Gerald Hawkesworth, former governor of Britsh Honduras. The type of bridge was decided based on the fact of very high flooding and that the River was used to float logs downstream. The Director of Public Works, Executive Engineer, Chief Engineer for the Crown Agents, who was entrusted the design, agreed to build a suspension bridge. Tenders for the construction of the bridge were called from July of 1946 and subsequently contracted were Messrs. Head Wrightson & Co Ltd for the steel work and Messrs Bruntons Ltd of Musselburgh Scotland for the cables. Construction started on 5th February 1948, supervised by Mr. Eric V. Williams, Executive Engineer and Mr. F. C. Hecker, General Foreman.
The total cost of the bridge was $198,384.33 and contained 2,260 tons of concrete, 264 tons of steel work and the cables, made of 7 individual strands and weighing 18 tons each. The foundation was carried to bedrock 12 feet below the surface. The columns were raised to a height of 46 feet and the center to a height of 52 feet, 7 feet above the heightest known flood level. The total length of the bridge is 480 feet and the main span is 280 feet, with an additional 100 feet on each side.
The story of the venerable Hawkesworth Bridge, which helped in the creation of the twin towns of San Ignacio and Santa Elena
For over one hundred years, ( 1840 to 1949 ) the only way to cross from San Ignacio to Santa was by dorey. (canoe) - I remember paying 5 cents to cross over to San Ignacio.- ( Don Adelaido Guzman, Don Tomas Paiz, Don Cipriano Requena, Don Tino Castellanos, Chica and Aniseta Garcia and others who provided this valuable service.
These Two Towns and surroundings depended on River boats for articles of consumption. All merchandise came by River boats, which came almost every day.
In 1947, the news came, a bridge was being brought, somewhere from Africa, in Sections to be erected between San Ignacio and Santa Elena. - It did arrive and were transported by Logging Cameons.
The installation began in the dry weather of 1947. ( And here I pause to make special mention our own Belizeans, like Francis Hecker and others who tackled this job, administered by a British Engineer) ( The procedure is too long to describe now ) But by July of 1949, the Hawkesworth Bridge was Inaugurated by Governor Garvey, the same Governor, who would later on December 31st announce the DEVALUATION OF OUR DOLLAR, ( which would cause, THE BIRTH OF THE MOVEMENT OF BELIZE'S INDEPENDENCE.
The components of this bridge, which by the way presently need regular maintenance are
Steel Towers, Steel Braces, Steel Bed, Steel Rods, Cables, Suspension Joints, Suspension Anchors and tits and bits