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Apr 16, 2013

Chetumal Boulevard now open for drivers

It’s been a solid three months of inconvenience, loss of business and traffic holdups, but today the Chetumal Boulevard located off the Phillip Goldson Highway was officially inaugurated. Well, it actually opens fully to pedestrian and vehicular traffic on Monday. It is an impressive stretch of road, complete with covered drains and median, and the pride and sense of achievement of the Belize City Council was on full display at a ceremony held this morning. And perhaps just as significant as the new boulevard, was what P.U.P. Leader of the Opposition, Francis Fonseca, had to say. Freelance reporter Mike Rudon has the story.

 

Mike Rudon, Reporting

It is rare for politicos from opposing sides to share the spotlight under one tent, and almost unheard of for a politician from one side to praise the work of a politician from the other. But it seems that the very impressive Chetumal Boulevard was enough to bridge that usually gaping divide.

 

Francis Fonseca

Francis Fonseca, Leader of the Opposition

“The new improved Chetumal Boulevard will serve to improve and enhance the environment of this community, a very beautiful residential community, a growing community that we have invested a lot in over the past fifteen, twenty years. So I am very proud to be the representative of this community and I am very proud that the Belize City Council has been able to make this a priority.”

 

Darrell Bradley, Belize City Mayor

“I hope that this will be an asset that will be here for the benefit of future generations of Belizeans and we hope that every single street in Belize City can be like Chetumal Boulevard. I know that we can do it, working together across party political lines, working together across government ministries, working with the business community and the public sector I know that we can direct our resources to ensure that Belize City receives the upliftment in terms of infrastructure that we desire.”

 

Darrell Bradley

According to Mayor Bradley, the new boulevard meets exacting specifications, and was the result of a very intensive and transparent tendering process.

 

Darrell Bradley

“For a street of this size we had a very prolonged tendering process, and actually we had thought that the person who submitted the design would have gotten the contract but because of the tendering process that was not the case. So we had as much as twelve companies bid for the street, and our engineers went back and forth with some of the contractors to indicate that they understood the drainage requirements for this particular street because we know that the Northern Highway and the Belama Area always get flooded and we did not want this street to be an obstacle. So the contract on this was awarded to RJB construction. It was at a cost of $708,000. We did extensive works on the drainage. We did hydrology studies to ensure that the water requirements and everything was in line with what was required by the various projects that are going on in this particular area. We’re very pleased with the work, we are very pleased with the aesthetic quality of the street itself.”

 

And of course, there were problems and glitches along the way, including an ongoing criticism that while the work is welcome, there is a lack of coordination and planning which causes unnecessary inconvenience for businesses and residents.

 

Darrell Bradley

“It’s been difficult. I think when we do a project of this size it requires much more consultation. I know a lot of criticism we have taken for the traffic management situation…that we’re not doing as good a job as we ought to do. And businesses, I remember when we were doing Freetown Road at the Christmas time, they were saying that is a no-brainer…why are you doing such a major street during that period of time? But we’re learning. It is a learning process as we go along. We’ve tried to be better. We’ve communicated with all the businesses along this street and they have pledged their support to assist. I’ve mentioned the contribution that Westrac will be giving us. And so we’re trying to ensure that we can do the street as fast as possible but when you do any kind of infrastructure work it will be disruptive. We’re just trying to ensure that we have as minimal disruption as possible.”

 

And the most important message coming out of today’s ceremony? That message came from the leader of the Opposition, and the sentiment was mirrored by Mayor Bradley.

 

Francis Fonseca

“Today in Belize as it has been for a long time, politics is very divisive and it is very rare and very unusual to see politicians from different political parties together sharing the podium, sharing the spotlight if you will. I believe and I think the Mayor, because he and I have talked several times and we have remained in communication since he became the Mayor of Belize City. When we first met I said to him…Mayor the elections are over, you are the Mayor of Belize City, you’re also my Mayor and I’m going to do everything I can to support your work, and I mean that. I think that old divisive politics is really the old school of politics and I think, I certainly hope that the new generation of politicians that we have and the new leaders who are emerging will understand that if we are going to deal and solve the very serious critical challenges and problems that our municipalities face, our villages face, our country faces…that we have to do so together. We have to work together for the good of the people.”

 

Darrell Bradley

“I think that his words were very insightful. After the elections I had met with him. And I had indicated some of the development plans that we have throughout the city. He had expressed his support. He had urged on certain particular streets on behalf of the residents of the Freetown area. He had asked for streets like Gentle Avenue which we were able to find the budget for. And he had indicated a concern on behalf of residents of this community on Apollo Street and these are areas we are trying to work along with him to address the concerns of residents of his community. He is the duly elected representative.”

 

And with the message of bipartisan cooperation for the good of the people sent, it is left to see if it will be received. But for today, nothing can take away from what is a significant achievement by the Belize City Council, the new Chetumal Boulevard. Mike Rudon for News Five.

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3 Responses for “Chetumal Boulevard now open for drivers”

  1. belama resident says:

    not wanting to rain on your parade, but this street has so many cracks in the concrete already. workers spent all night hiding cracks with cements 24hrs before the opening.

  2. Storm says:

    I hope it works as promised, but experience says it won’t.

    Will e taxpayers be cheated again? The jury is still out on this one.

  3. busha says:

    WHY THE !*&! is it called Chetumal Boulevard? Really?

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