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Jun 19, 2020

Broken Highway Repaired

Waters have now receded and traffic is flowing on both the George Price and  Hummingbird Highways. Incessant rains and the force of flood waters damaged the highways, rendering them impassable to traffic. In the south, the highway was restored hours after the water gushed across the thoroughfare. At Mile thirty-eight, the culverts collapsed disconnecting the west from the central and northern parts of the country. For hours and up until ten o’clock, workmen used backfill and boulders as a temporary fix to re-open the highway. News Five’s Hipolito Novelo has the following report. 

 

Hipolito Novelo reporting

After twelve-to fourteen hours of heavy rains throughout Wednesday night, the forced of rushing waters washed away a section of the George Price Highway. The culvert at mile thirty-eight and half was unable to withstand the powerful flood waters and caved in. It halted traffic and isolated Belmopan areas from Belize City and the northern districts. NEMO and Ministry of Works personnel responded to repair the damage highway. By ten o’clock on Wednesday night, vehicles were able to traverse that section of the highway.

 

Lennox Bradley, Chief Engineer, M.O.W.

Lennox Bradley

“The drainage structures that we have on this road have been there for quite some years, at least thirty-forty years we have this. We have not really increase the hydraulic capacity of these culverts and what we are seeing today is that development does bring its problems with it. We have a lot of land clearing that have been done over the life of this highway and land clearing will increase the runoff. It will make the runoff reach our drainage structure much   quicker and so the size of our drainage structure needs to be revisited on this George Price Highway because it can no longer take the amount of runoff that we are getting now.”

 

But for now backfilling will do until a bridge is built.

 

Lennox Bradley

“What we have done to restore access to the public as quickly as possible is to do something temporary which involved back-filling with heavy boulders. We noted that the culverts have not been completely compromised and so backfilling really was the quickest way to restore access to the public. We plan to install a few more culverts to try increase the hydraulics capacity at this location here so that it can accommodate more runoff. But the permanent solution would be to try to put a small bridge there but that would have to be in the medium term when we take on this road, improve the climate resilience on this round in the medium term. This is a vital link to the country so we have to give some priority.”

Further along the Goerge Price Highway, on mile sixty-two and half near the Galen University, a diversion was overflowing with water with its small culverts being unable to withstand the flood waters.

 

Lennox Bradley

“You know that section of the highway between Iguana Creek junction and the George Price Highway up the Loma Luz Boulevard we have contracted to Imer Hernandez. They have that section being upgraded right now. As part of that upgrading they were suppose to expand the hydraulics capacity at the Galen bridge. That is what they are doing but to allow that to happen, they had to construct a diversion. The diversion is comprised of some small culverts. The water flow that we had there yesterday was such that the culverts couldn’t take the amount of runoff and so we had wash outs there and traffic was interrupted for a short time period but I think by about three o’clock access was restored.”

 

To the south, along the Hummingbird Highway, near St. Margaret’s Village the situation was similar where a high rise permanent bridge replaces the St. Margaret’s Creek bridge.

 

Lennox Bradley

“We have a diversion there as well. Again culverts could not take the amount of water flow and it trapped debris and that compounded problems where we had the wash out of the diversion. Traffic flow was interrupted. Again, about three four o’clock access was restored there again.”

 

Reporting for News Five, I am Hipolito Novelo.


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