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Jun 30, 2008

Rains add to woes in downtown project

Story PictureThe City Council has promised that an improvement to life on Belize City’s streets will come in a month’s time … but as News Five’s Ann-Marie Williams found out, we’ll just have to wait and see.

Ann-Marie Williams, Reporting
The rains are coming down and it’s four days shy of four months since the Belize City Council embarked on a major street restoration project in downtown Belize City, to fully pave what had become eyesores on Albert and Regent Streets.

But after months of digging up the streets, lifting manhole covers, laying pipes and testing lines, not to mention diverting of pedestrian and vehicular traffic, for days on end, promises made by Deputy Mayor Anthony Michael, to start the actual paving still remain just promises.

Anthony Michael, Belize City Deputy Mayor
“We have asked the utility companies from a month ago to please do their best to speed up the work. We do not want to give them a deadline because we do not want to be held responsible saying we need to pave by such a date and they do inferior job. We were in communication with B.W.S. and they have finished their underground work and they were at the point of getting ready to do pressure testing. After the pressure test was done they found three leaks so they had to go back in and dig the streets all over again. B.T.L. is at a point where they have completed their scope of work. They are putting on the covers on the manholes for their particular infrastructure.”

Ann-Marie Williams, Reporting
Michael says he’s in communication with the Ministry of Works and once he gets the green light from B.W.S., paving will begin. Both Albert and Regent will sport spanking smooth quality surfaces. However, the same can’t be said for the perpendicular streets, namely Church, Bishop, King, Prince and Dean.

Anthony Michael
“It won’t be the same hot mix type material because we did not take that into the scope of work due to the cost and stuff. But yes it will be the chip and seal and will be upgraded very beautiful back.”

Anne Marie Williams
“What’s the entire project costing including the adjoining streets?”

Anthony Michael
“The paving of Albert and Regent as what we have gotten is eight hundred and fifty thousand dollars. The sidewalks, we’re still in negotiation with that but we’re probably looking at another three hundred thousand dollars with the sidewalk. The other adjoining streets and stuff are nothing much past fifty thousand or so.”

The perpendicular streets will be done by the city in conjunction with the Ministry of Works while the company Raddler Construction has been contracted to do the paving of the two major downtown streets.

Ann-Marie Williams
“While Michael is placing the blame for the delay in the works on Albert and Regent Streets squarely at the feet of the Belize Water Services, irate drivers and pedestrians couldn’t care less. They just want it done!”

Pedestrian #1
“Terrible, terrible, very terrible. Lot ah potholes and all kind ah thing.”

Ann-Marie Williams
“Wished the works had finished already?”

Pedestrian #1
“Yes, dah dat we just mi di talk bout.”

Motorist #1
“Well we have to tek it because we want improvement pan di city so we have to accept it.”

Motorist #2
“Very inconvenient. With the weather and all this but we need to have some patience they’re working with the streets and like that. Let’s bear it.”

Pedestrian #2
“Kind of a rough man. You have to tek yuh time and walk and watch weh yoh go.”

Ann-Marie Williams
“Wished the works had finished already?”

Pedestrian #2
“Yeah because di rain di come down now and ih wah worse.”

Motorist #3
“I mean it’s terrible, very terrible because sometimes you can’t even turn around to deliver things.”

Ann-Marie Williams
“You’re hoping that it will be fixed soon.”

Motorist #3
“I hope because dis dah like di past month and they noh finish it. I wonder why?”

And while pedestrians and drivers are left with no other choice but to wonder and wait, B.W.S. Chief Operating Officer, Frederick Sandiford has gone on record to say that if weather conditions permit, the company should finish the last portion of its work on Sunday, which is the testing phase of Albert Street.

Ann-Marie Williams for News Five.

Sandiford told News Five today that B.W.S. has already completed and signed off on all the Regent Street works.

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