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Mar 21, 2023

M.I.D.H.’s Ongoing Program to Replace Wooden Bridges, Swing Bridge & BelCan

As we have been reporting, an assessment has been done on major bridges in Belize City and the reality is that the Swing Bridge and the BelCan Bridge need to be replaced – sooner rather than later. The replacement of these bridges is being included in a loan for the rehabilitation project for the George Price Highway. In a recent interview with News Five, Minister of Infrastructure Development and Housing Julius Espat says that outside of those main bridges, and the upgrade of the highway, hundreds of wooden bridges have already been replaced with concrete crossings.


Julius Espat

Julius Espat, Minister of Infrastructure Development & Housing

“You guys are aware of the main bridges – Haulover, BelCan, BelChina, Swing Bridge. We are aware of the hundreds. And so the ministry, as you’re driving into the village, you notice there are two recently done concrete bridges, designed and executed by MIDH; Mister Thimbrel was the designer. We have a program where we are trying to change all of the wooden bridges to concrete bridges because once we do it that’s twenty thirty years we don’t have to worry about it. We are in the process of doing that in the rural areas. We are presently in communication with CDB right now. We had a meeting with our technical staff, C.E.O., and the chief engineer with CDB. We had a feasibility study done for the Belmopan to Belize City or Belize City to Belmopan, depending where you are coming from – that project includes the Swing Bridge and the BelCan. We have gone out to seek financing from other lending institutions, but CDB is like family to us – we are them, they are us – and they are interested. They are saying come on guys, let’s sit down; it is a project that we want to help finance. They helped with the Coastal [Highway]; they are presently doing the majority of the financing for the Remate, the northern highway, and that is a very important project for the country of Belize. You guys travel that highway; you know how dangerous it is. So what does it accomplish if we achieve it? One, the replacement of the two bridges, which is Swing Bridge and BelCan, which are in a state of deterioration structurally – it is a shame, we have to deal with it. The flood mitigation of the city; the road will do drainage in the Cisco area, where Cisco has the Old Belize, in the Hattieville area. There was an IDB study that recommended that we divert the water coming out from the Belize River and the other estuaries before it reaches Belize City, through the Burton Canal. So that is a part of the project. So two flood mitigation and three, we are elevating the road to weh yo call – this dah dehn technical engineering term – climate resilience and I have learnt to use it because it is important. It just means that we have to raise the level of the road to make sure it can withstand more rains, more floods and safety.”


Minister Espat says that the project will cost about fifty to eighty million dollars.

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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