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Jun 18, 2020

Flooding Disrupts Traffic on Hummingbird Highway

Heading south, on the Hummingbird Highway, the water levels rose to dangerous levels. Construction work had to be halted and commuters heading into the Belmopan area could not make their way through as the force of the water caused debris to drift and obstruct the culvert. By some estimation, the water rose four feet high and fortunately, by news time, the Hummingbird Highway has reopened to vehicular traffic.  News Five’s Isani Cayetano has the following report.


Isani Cayetano, Reporting

Torrential rains overnight have resulted in flash floods in parts of the country, including Stann Creek District where a sudden rush of water has disrupted roadwork along the Hummingbird Highway.  This morning, motorists traveling through St. Margaret’s were met with raging currents that made certain sections of the highway impassable.


Voice of: Emilio Zabaneh, Motorist

“It’s about 6:45 in the morning and we’re in the Stann Creek Valley area, Hummingbird Highway where I think there were some culverts that they were putting while we’re awaiting the construction of this bridge right here and we have a top gallon flood happening and there is absolutely no way, nothing can pass here.  As you can see, even the blockades that were put in were knocked by this huge log and are drifting.  The current is very, very strong and this is not passable right now inside the Hummingbird, not passable.”


Lennox Bradley

Chief Engineer Lennox Bradley, of the Ministry of Works, admits that the volume of water moving across the creek at St. Margaret’s is too much for the culverts that have been placed across the highway while the bridge nearby remains under construction.


Lennox Bradley, Chief Engineer, Ministry of Works

“It’s something that we expect in a construction area.  The type of material that we have along the Hummingbird Highway is easily securable.  We have the St. Margaret’s bridge where you are referring to where a lot of debris has accumulated and it’s mainly because of the diversion that we have constructed to allow traffic to flow while we are building the permanent bridge structure.  The diversion only has some culverts there, the volume of water that passes through that St. Margaret’s Creek is well above what the diversion can take and so some debris has trapped there which has complicated matters to make water pass over the roadway.  But as soon as water recedes, the debris can be removed and we could restore access there.”


At five o’clock this morning, this woman, identified as Mrs. Sutherland, left from Independence Village en route to Belmopan having purchased butane at the National Gas Company fuel depot in Big Creek.  When she got here, she realized that this stretch of the highway was under water.  She has been stuck at this location since six-thirty.


Mrs. Sutherland

Mrs. Sutherland, Motorist

“I noticed that this is behind us, can’t get home, hungry, no food, nothing.  So I am little frustrated because I want to get home.”



“So what were you doing in Independence?”


Mrs. Sutherland

“I was with my husband, I went with him down there and he told me to try to get home so I came ahead with another truck and…”



“So you guys were delivering butane?”


Mrs. Sutherland

“Filling.  You full up da way and then you drop it in Belmopan.”



“Full where?”


Mrs. Sutherland

“Down in Mango Creek.”


The Ministry of Works advised against the flow of vehicular traffic in the area while attempts were being made to clear the debris from the road.


Lennox Bradley

“We wouldn’t recommend traffic.  About an hour ago, I wouldn’t recommend traffic to be passing there because it’s fast-flowing water and you cannot underestimate nature.”


The water level, as estimated by one motorist, was about four feet high, but the rapid flow of water was quite dangerous.


Voice of: Emilio Zabaneh

“Here we see the currents passing over the road and we’re standing on the new bridge and there is the other side of the road there.  So we’re looking at, easily, maybe about four feet of water.  There is just no way, no way we can pass through this right now.  Only a big, big truck can go through.”


Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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