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Oct 31, 2008

Engineer: Northern Highway in bad condition, but safe

Story PictureOn Thursday, residents living in the rural communities of the Belize District took a hellish ride into the city as flood waters found its way across portions of the Northern Highway and created crater-like potholes. Today the thoroughfare showed signs of severe erosion and unlike yesterday, the traffic was at a steady flow. But while the road is in bad condition, Ministry of Works Executive Engineer, David Novelo says drivers need not fear that it will collapse like a portion of the Western Highway did on Wednesday night.

David Novelo, Executive Engineer, Ministry of Works
“After six-thirty when the traffic has eased a bit, then we start to install the culvert. We don’t want to obstruct the traffic.”

Marion Ali
“So at night when people are using this road, if they need to get through or need to get out, at night what will happen?”

David Novelo
“They can still do it because what we do is we block off one half of the highway. The nature of the water is not a clear water so you cannot see the holes on the highway. We have tried to do some remedial works but due to the current of the water it keeps washing away the material. So we just have to wait until the water goes down a bit then we do some repairs on the highway.”

Marion Ali
“And while that is happening while the road is being eroded, the floods continue to rise as well. So people in small vehicles, if they have concerns what will be your advice to them?”

David Novelo
“They need to exercise caution when traveling on the highway; small vehicles.”

Marion Ali
“Can small vehicles pass lets say tonight, tomorrow? What’s your projection?”

David Novelo
“They can pass tomorrow. I think that they can pass by tomorrow yes, they can pass.”

Marion Ali
“We saw a portion of the western highway at two locations just simply caved in yesterday. Do you think the portion here on the Northern that has been under mine, do you think that there’s a possibility that that can cave in as well?”

David Novelo
“No, not really because what happen, the western highway we have bigger culverts. Here on the Northern Highway we have culverts maximum size are about twenty-four inches and over that side we have six feet culverts, bigger culverts. It gets a stringer flow so that won’t happen there.”

Earlier today the Ministry of Works installed three culverts to help alleviate the flooding on the highway.

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