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Dec 24, 2021

Section of Highway was Fixed Back in 2009, not in 2016 Upgrade

There have been perennial issues with that area where the road has collapsed in the past and fixed. Like the area around mile four, there is also unevenness as a result of sinking along the stretch of the highway.  Back in 2009, that section was reconstructed, but as we found out from Chief Engineer Lennox Bradley, it was not included in the upgrade of the Philip Goldson Highway back in 2016.  Bradley says that the impact from an accident late last week created a cavity in the area and the undercurrents further undermined the integrity of the pile system.


Lennox Bradley

Lennox Bradley, Chief Engineer

“If you recall in 2009, we had to reconstruct that same section there, the revetment wall at that section because it had failed. We do have under the Belize River a sort of a compressible, predominantly silt-y material. In 2009 when we had a failure of a section of the wall and it is that exact same piece of section that has failed last night, we had, as part of the solution and because speed was important there, people wanted to see action; we were pressured into putting an option there that was more or less temporary in nature, although it has given us nearly eleven years of life. But what we did there at the time was dried pre-stressed concrete piles at intervals and we had some plastic sheet piles. And that was the essence of that design there to contain the road structure, protect the road structure there. The plastic sheet pile, by its very nature, we can’t drive it too deep, so basically it was at the surface of the riverbed there. And what occurred last night was that the undercurrents in the river really had created a sort of a cavity in that section there. And if you recall, we had an accident recently, that a vehicle ran into a B.E.L. poll there and the vibration from that shock really had the material collapse there. And the embedment of the precast concrete pile, while we had about fifteen feet embedment on average for most of the piles, because of the nature of material, that was insufficient to hold the revetment wall that we had there. That made the collapse imminent.”

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