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Dec 28, 2021

Chief Engineer Agrees: Causeway is Best Solution for Sinking Highway

Last week, we showed you the images of a portion of the Philip Goldson Highway near mile seven that collapsed into the Belize River. A temporary fix has been set in place and will remain that way for some months, as the Ministry of Infrastructure Development and Housing sources the required material to rectify the situation. But, there is another issue as well between miles three and four on the same highway in an area known as “Sinkville.”  Travelling along that stretch is like a rollercoaster ride, as the road warps in several spots. Millions of dollars were spent in the past to fix this section of the highway and so, we asked Chief Engineer Lennox Bradley if a causeway, as suggested by PM Briceño, would be the best solution for this perennial issue.


Lennox Bradley

Lennox Bradley, Chief Engineer

“We do have what we term differential settlement; that the rate of settlement occurs at different rates and so you have differences in the rate of settlement. Indeed, the Prime Minister is right that the preferred solution there, for a longer life, is an elevated causeway there. Put piles because piles would go to refusal meaning that where the settlement is extremely minimal. That would be the preferred option, but you know that in most of these cases where we look at road investments, we do a cost-benefit analysis; a feasibility study has to be carried out to see whether it is feasible in terms of cost and the impacts to the environment and other social issues.  And I think this is where we have to look at it; looking at the volume of traffic.  While we might say there is a lot of congestion in that area right now, if you perform a cost-benefit analysis maybe you might not get the internal rate of return of twelve percent that we want as a minimum. But that is the way forward, putting an elevated causeway there or a causeway on pile system.”

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