If you have been up mile 7 of the Philip Goldson Highway you may have noticed that a portion of the highway remains under construction. Part of the highway collapsed back in January of this year when the embankment gave way. During the interview with Infrastructure Minister Julius Espat, the media ask for an update on the repairs.
Julius Espat, Area Representative, Cayo South: “We’re about ten more days for the piling to start to drive. You have to understand we had to build everything from scratch so the contractor built the piles to specifications. Ten more days are left for the piling to be cured and after that, not only the piling but the protection that we need to put in, the shear wall. So, in about ten more days they will start doing the physical work.”
Hipolito Novelo, Love FM News: How long you think this would remedy the situation because we have always had issues with that section of the highway?
Julius Espat, Area Representative, Cayo South: “It’s there but the lifespan of most of these things is between 20 to 30 years. You can’t plan for longer than that because you’re dealing with corrosive material when you talk about salt and all of that so that’s what the design is for.”
Hipolito Novelo, Love FM News: Okay so since the collapse of the man wall there, has it gotten worse? I haven’t passed through that area yet.
Julius Espat, Area Representative, Cayo South: “Another section that we have. What happened is that when it happened, we sent out our engineers to analyse the whole area and there’s another section that is at peril. So once we finish this one, we’ll have to do an analysis and do a proposal to start dealing with the other side.”
Hipolito Novelo, Love FM News: Okay so, before you reach the bridge there’s that section there?
Julius Espat, Area Representative, Cayo South: “Both sections are, no, yeah, before you reach the bridge. “
Hipolito Novelo, Love FM News: Like you di go in a bouncy house. You just.
Julius Espat, Area Representative, Cayo South: “Well that whole. We have a problem coming out of Belize City all the way to the airport you know. If you notice, the roundabout by Benny’s, the second roundabout. The road that was done before our time has already sunk. What our engineers are telling us is that like, there is an underground water stream and that the submaterial that is there is not adequate so to be able to remedy it permanently, you might have to drive piles and create like a causeway type scenario. That is something we will have to propose to Cabinet because that’s not an inexpensive approach. Something like that will cost you between $40 – $50 million and so we have to always be balancing the needs of the country. We have what, 2,500 miles of roads approximately, hundreds of bridges and so we have to be balancing and analysing the budget that is given to us to see what is priority. That’s how we approach it.”