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Jun 26, 2002

High water continues to disrupt nation

As predicted, rains continue to inundate much of the country today to cause floods, threaten property and hinder travel on major highways. According to the Ministry of Works, the following roads and bridges remain closed tonight.

In the Toledo District, while the Southern Highway is open, the Jordan Bridge is still closed. Villagers of Pueblo Viejo are still cut off from the rest of the country by the floodwaters. In Barranco the road is impassable and the Aguacate Road is closed because the causeway is flooded. At Monkey River, the mile six culvert has washed away rendering the road impassable. However, the Rio Blanco Bridge has been repaired and is tonight open to the public.

In the Cayo District, the Tambos and Frank Eddy roads are closed, as are the Baking Pot and Young Bank ferries. The More Tomorrow Bridge is not open to traffic; Iguana Creek Bridge is under two feet of water, and the wooden bridge between San Ignacio and Santa Elena is still submerged.

In the Belize District, the Coastal Highway is impassable and the eastern approach to the Rancho Dolores Bridge is under four and a half feet of water. Those who wish to cross at Rancho Dolores have to do so by boat.

Meanwhile, officials from the Ministry of Works tell News 5 that waters running beneath the Beaver Dam Bridge receded today, but engineers continue to monitor the bridge. If water levels continue to fall the underwater concreting, postponed because of Tuesday’s flash flood, will be scheduled for tomorrow night. According to Chief Engineer Cadet Henderson, tonight all categories of vehicles are being allowed to cross the bridge, but only on the left side of the structure. Motorists are asked to pay keen attention to the many barriers and signs posted along the road and near the bridge, drive across slowly and keep at least one car-length between vehicles crossing.

In other news from the Ministry of Works, motorists travelling on the Hummingbird Highway might have noticed several pieces of a bridge in the river at mile twenty. According to Henderson, demolition experts demolished the bridge today as it had previously posed peril to residents of the area, who used it for recreation despite its rundown condition. The structure was originally built in 1907 as part of the railway and adapted for vehicular traffic in 1938. The replacement bridge used by motorists today was built in 1992. Henderson says a similar exercise took place along the Hummingbird at mile seven earlier this month. The project is a joint operation between the U.S. Army, the Belize Defence Force and the Ministry of Works.

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