SPTC announces potential bridge construction

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 12, No. 8            February 28, 2002

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Bascule bridge

Information released by the San Pedro Town Council (SPTC) this week stated, "after several years of study, negotiations and planning is now nearing arrangements for the construction of a Bascule bridge over Boca del Rio; to replace the slow inadequate ferry now in use."

    In the January 17th edition of the San Pedro Sun, it was reported that the project was in its preliminary phase. San Pedro Town Council was prepared to act autonomously since government funding was not forthcoming. Now, however, Mayor Alberto Nuñez states that the Government of Belize has supposedly purchased several "Bascule" bridges from Spain, and San Pedro Town will receive the first one. He explained that if the government actually does follow through with this particular promise, it would save the town a tremendous amount of money. With this in mind, the Mayor felt it was in the town's interest to accept. Whether or not the bridge will ever come to be is another matter, but for now, Mayor Nuñez considered it best to inform his public of the possibility. If the bridge does become a reality, he assured this newspaper that the SPTC will conduct public consultations before making decisions on how they will proceed with the project.

    A Bascule bridge is a type of drawbridge which works with a counterweight as shown in the illustration above. Mayor Nuñez informed that the floor of the bridge will be at least seven feet above the water in order to allow fishing and dive boats to pass under. In the case of a tall boat, dredge or sail boat, the bridge will open up to allow 30 feet. Although no toll is planned at this time, a small fee may be necessary to fund a 24-hour guard. He explained that the council currently employs four workers to man the ferry but at night it is often vandalized by people breaking the chains and leaving it to float away. The Mayor suggested that some type of personal or vehicular identification could also be necessary for people to cross the bridge after dark in order to curtail any "bad elements." He further mentioned that a vehicle weight or size limit may be incurred so that only golf carts and certain utility vehicles may travel over the bridge. Mayor Nuñez stated these types of issues will be studied carefully and public concerns and comments will weigh heavily in the decisions made.

    The SPTC statement ended "The general public, and in particular those immediately concerned, is called to this announcement." Mayor Nuñez advised that comments or concerns be put in writing and directed to the San Pedro Town Council at the San Pedro Town Hall or through P.O. Box 54, San Pedro Town.

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