Coastal Plane Highway Officially Opened Amid Rainy Conditions
You know is as the Coastal Road; Minister Dolores refers to it as the Manatee Road, but the proper name for it is the Coastal Plane Highway. The thoroughfare was officially declared open despite the heavy showers. It was a well-attended event with remarks delivered by several Cabinet ministers and a guest representative from the Caribbean Development Bank, Sharon Griffith. CEO Victor Espat and Minister Julius Espat of the Ministry of Infrastructure Development were among those speakers.
Prime Minister John Briceno gave brief remarks where he praised the works of the Minister Julius Espat and his team. He commended the cutbacks made in the budget for several projects across the country including the Haulover Bridge Project. Prime Minister noted that there were leftover funds from the Coastal Plane Project which will be used for further infrastructural works.
Among the other speakers were Area Representative for the area along the highway, Dolores Balderamos Garcia; Area Representative for Stann Creek West, Rodwell Ferguson, and Area Representative for Dangriga, Dr Louis Zabaneh.
Dolores Balderamos Garcia, Minister of Human Development: “Let me, in giving my remarks today, thank the Government of Belize for this beautiful and wonderful project which makes our country smaller. We’ll be able to get to the South quicker. And when we see the road being used and everybody using it coming through it will help our country to develop in the Plan Belize model.”
Rodwell Ferguson, Minister of Transport: “So when I go to Orange Walk or Corozal FinSec one time I used to spend over my budget for fuel. But now with the road I’m within my limit and I can run the month with the fuel that you give me. So this is a significant milestone. Hurricane Hattie passed through this area in 1961 and it was totally destroyed. As a matter of fact, back then, Mullins River was a town and have never regained township or even villageship since then because most of the people moved out from Mullins River to Belize City and likewise from Gales Point. And so I’m hopeful that within another five years’ time we can see a complete transformation and people starting to come back to this region especially for tourism development.”
Dr.Louis Zabaneh, Minister of State, Ministry of Education: “I recall indeed myself. When we were in the bussing industry, when we had Z-Line and we had to come through this road, sometimes we would have to have bulldozers come out and pull us out of the mud because we would get bogged down and it would take a lot for us to be able to serve our people.”The Coastal Road Project also saw the construction of bridges between its junction with the George Price Highway up to the Hope Creek area. The project will prove to reduce travel distance by 28 miles between the northern and southern districts of Belize. It will also improve the efficiency of the north-south movement of goods to the country’s ports and facilitate expansion of agricultural production and tourism; and Improve access to services and economic opportunities for Gales Point, Manatee and Mullins River communities.