Coastal Plain Highway Reopens for Light Traffic After Flooding

Coastal Plain Highway Reopens for Light Traffic After Flooding

After being impassable for most of today due to flood waters, the Ministry of Infrastructure Development has given the green light for light traffic to proceed on the Coastal Plain Highway. The Ministry issued the notice late this evening after field crews assessed the level of the flood waters. The ministry is cautioning motorists, however, to drive with caution in the area and to take note of the gauges present at the floodways that indicate the water’s depth. Evondale Moody, Chief Engineer with the MIDH explained that the flooding was observed in two main areas, particularly, at the approach to Manatee Bridge and at the Corn House Bridge.

Evondale Moody, Chief Engineer, Ministry of Infrastructure Development: “Earlier this morning, I was informed by my technical team that the water was rising significantly at a couple locations along the coastal plains highway, particularly at the approach to Manatee Bridge and also at Cornhouse Bridge itself where we have a floodway. So based on our analysis we are aware that Cornhouse approach is supposed to flood because it’s a floodway and that was the reason why it was designed so in the event we have extreme heavy rainfall, then that area would be underwater. And that’s also where we have the gauges that you could see when you’re driving through to determine the depth of water that has inundated that area. What we were surprised off is the flooding that occurred at Manatee Bridge because that is the bridge structure that usually used to flood before we upgraded the highway. That was where we had once a wooden structure and we replaced that structure with a new bridge structure which was designed for an annual return period of 125 years. And so that bridge structure was elevated approximately 5.5 meters, which is about 18 feet above the existing old bridge. And even that had water right under the beams itself. So the bridge was not blocked or anything, but the approach had water on it and that created some problem for us. We also saw that there was some water as well at the Gales Point Junction. However, that receded quite quickly. And so based on the information that I had this morning, I had to disseminate that press release to the media and I think that was sent to you guys around 10:30/ 11 o’clock this morning. However, based on my understanding and recent information I just gathered from my team in the south all those locations has receded at this point in time and so now I could give the go ahead for the road to be open back again to light traffic.”

As it relates to the rainfall that led to an impassable highway, the Deputy Chief Meteorologist with the National MET Service, Michelle Augustine, said there was an abnormally high amount of rainfall that hit southern Belize in a short space of time. She added that the rains in the south will be slowing down a bit but is expected to pick up again over the weekend. 

Michelle Augustine, Deputy Chief Meteorologist: “That particular area, right, that the Costal Road falls in is where we got the most or highest rainfall accumulation over the past 24 hours. So from just after midnight on Thursday through to early this morning or about mid morning, that area received about 13 inches close to 13 inches of rainfall just within that 24 period. So that the infrastructure or the flooding damage that is in that area is primarily because of excessive what we refer to as really excessive rainfall meaning rainfall falling in a short period of time but a lot of rainfall. Particularly over the next 24 hours, 12 to 24 hours, we should see a reduction in rainfall over the south. Most of the rain will be concentrated over the northern part of the country. So that area, we should see the water recede rather quickly because then they should be getting some sunshine tomorrow, as early as tomorrow. However, let me just add that the reduction in rainfall is only expected for the next like I said 24 hours. But after that we do expect a surge in moisture, what we refer to as lingering moisture, moisture behind the system that’s trailing the system that is expected to regenerate or redevelop showers over the area. The same particular area that got all is rainfall, right? We expect very late Saturday night coming on to Sunday morning we expect the rainfall to increase again, a temporary increase, right? But over that particular part of the country.”

The MIDH is calling on motorists in the area to abide by all traffic regulations including driving within the speed limit and the use of seatbelts.

Related post

Outrage in Roaring Creek: Police Hunt for Group After Elderly Man’s Hair Set on Fire

Outrage in Roaring Creek: Police Hunt for Group After…

Tonight, several people from Roaring Creek Village are wanted by police after a video surfaced of them lighting an elderly man’s…
Accused Child Abuser and Former Church Leader Mervin Budram Returns to Court

Accused Child Abuser and Former Church Leader Mervin Budram…

Accused child abuser Mervin Budram, a former church leader, returned to the courthouse this morning in Belmopan. Last year, after several…
Convicted Murderer William ‘Danny’ Mason Back in Court for Kidnapping Case

Convicted Murderer William ‘Danny’ Mason Back in Court for…

And what case could have kept the DPP from appearing in the Budram case? Well, today, convicted murderer William ‘Danny’ Mason…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *