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New Coastal Highway upgrade to commence

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Posted: Monday, February 24, 2020. 2:57 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: The Governments of Belize and the United Kingdom and the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) today launched the Coastal Highway Upgrading in La Democracia, Belize District.

Last December, the Ministry of Works signed contracts with Imer Hernandez Development Company Limited for the full upgrade of the Coastal Highway linking the Western and Hummingbird Highway, a total of 36.2 miles. For this project, they will be supervised by a reputable Mexican Construction company.

Hernandez’s company survived a recent audit by the Inter-American Development Bank in relation to other projects.

The project is funded by a £26.05 million (about US$34 million, BZ$68 million) grant from the Government of the United Kingdom through the CDB-administered United Kingdom Caribbean Infrastructure Fund (UKCIF); a US$36.6 million (BZ$73.2 million) loan from CDB and a US$8.6 million (BZ$17.2 million)contribution from the Government of Belize for a grand total of BZ$158.4 million.

Speakers included Stefan Kossoff, Head of DFID Caribbean, Hon. Beverly Castillo, Area Representative Belize Rural Central, Hon. Rene Montero, Minister of Works, CEO Yvonne Hyde, Ministry of Economic Development, CEO Errol Gentle, Ministry of Works, and CEO Francesca Federzoni, Politecnica, all supporting the road project and highlighting the difference it will bring to the communities.

Guest speaker and British High Commissioner, Her Excellency Claire Evans, said, “Our support to the Coastal Highway Upgrading is a very tangible demonstration of the UK’s commitment to Belize – a key Commonwealth partner for Global Britain. As our largest single project in Belize, the Coastal Highway Upgrading will be transformative – significantly improving access between Belize City and the south, to essential services such as health and education.”

CDB Director of Projects, Daniel Best, cited improved access to social services and economic opportunities for 1,700 residents along the road while incorporating enhanced safety for 2,500 road users in vehicles every day in addition to vulnerable pedestrians and cyclists. A paved and raised road with improved bridges and better drainage will make the corridor more climate-resilient and reduce significantly time lost through road closures due to flooding.

Residents in settlements along the highway, namely La Democracia, Gales Point, Mullins River, and Hope Creek will get better access to services such as health, education, and public transport, and increased opportunities for livelihoods and employment.

 

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