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Aug 15, 2013

Ferry in Corozal closes and villagers suffer miles of consequences

The Ministry of Works is currently rehabilitating the Copper Bank/Chunox Ferry in the Corozal district. Normally that would be good news, but residents of the communities of Sarteneja, Progresso, Chunox and Copper Bank who use the ferry to get to Corozal Town say they were given no warning. They are now forced to travel south to Orange Walk Town on bad roads, and then by highway in the other direction back to Corozal Town. And if that isn’t bad enough, the Ministry of Works says it will shortly be closing the larger Pueblo Viejo ferry for repairs. And that closure will be for months, as opposed to weeks. It’s an unfortunate and almost unacceptable situation for commuters between the affected communities and Corozal Town. But C.E.O. in the Ministry of Works, Errol Gentle, says unfortunate – YES, but it is absolutely necessary.

 

Errol Gentle, C.E.O., Ministry of Works

Errol Gentle

“You could imagine having a ferry in the river for quite some while and no maintenance is done…there is corrosion. In some places there might be holes in the ferry. So for the safety of the vehicles, for the safety of people – we have to ensure that we save lives – from time to time we need to do maintenance on the ferry. We have been doing some surface maintenance but it’s time now that we actually take the ferries out of the water and address whatever problems exist under the surface of the ferry. On the surface if you see some of the running boards have been replaced, the approaches to both of the ferries will be fixed. The cable that holds the ferry together will be replaced and the actual flotation part of the ferry – the actual metal part which has holes in some areas – in order for us to repair them that has to be taken out…you need to cut out the rotten part and weld in new metal sheet onto the ferry. The first one took a little bit longer than we thought. We were expecting like a month or a month and a half but it took a bit longer. And the second ferry we will be working on is the bigger ferry so certainly it will take much longer. But the concerns of the villagers were that the ferry would be taken out and there would be no consideration for movement of passengers and movement of vehicles so we will be looking into that as well and do whatever is possible to ensure that there will be free flow of traffic.”

 

News Five spoke to teachers from Sarteneja who told us that they have been unable to attend teaching workshops in Corozal Town as a result of the ferry closure.

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