The Coastal Road upgrading project was officially launched yesterday in La Democracia Village. Representatives from the Government of Belize, British High Commission, Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and the Department for international development were present for the groundbreaking event. The proposed upgrade includes the construction and paving of the 36 miles of road and the rehabilitation and reconstruction of 10 bridges across various creeks and rivers along the highway. The Government secured financing in December 2019 through a loan from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and grant funding from the United Kingdom Caribbean Infrastructure Partnership Fund (UKCIF) as explained by the Minister of Works, Rene Montero.
Hon. Rene Montero, Minister of Works: “The Government of Belize secured financing for the Coastal Highway upgrading project through a loan from the Caribbean Development Bank and a grant from the United Kingdom Government for which a portion will be applied towards this highway upgrading project. On behalf of the government and people of Belize we are truly thankful for the grant provided by the United Kingdom government. The upgrading of the fifty eight kilometers of the Coastal Highway including the construction and rehabilitation of ten bridges will significantly improve the accessibility to the south of Belize and at the same time it will provide an alternate and shorter route for motorists to link between northern Belize, Belize City, and South Belize and more important it will serve as a bridge between Belize and our neighboring countries of Central America. Based on the design requirements the roadworks and bridges being constructed under this project are designed to meet international specifications according to the AASHTO design standards in several areas. The road is also being raised significantly to be climate resilient.”
The representative of the CDB, Daniel Best mentioned that apart from the 73.15 million dollars a further 25 million pounds sterling has been provided to the project from the United Kingdom Caribbean Infrastructure Partnership Fund (UKICEF) allocation to Belize.
Daniel Best, Director of Project Department, Caribbean Development Bank: “We are all well aware that there were competing interest for the management of those resources so we also wish to thank you for the vote of confidence in the management and operations of CDB and for vesting stewardship of those resources in our hands. I would like to highlight that in addition to Belizeans $73.15 million in CDB loan resources a further $25 million pound sterling in a grant funds have been provided to the project from the UK SIF allocation to Belize. This represents an enormous leveraging of potential benefits to Belize and therefore I would like to request Her Excellency Claire Evans, British High Commission to Belize and Mr.Stefan Kossoff that on behalf of the CDB and it’s member countries to please convey our thanks for your government’s unwavering support to the Caribbean’s development. We thank you.”
The road, which commences at the George Price Highway intersection, will have an improved T-junction intersection to better channel traffic movement. The end of the Coastal Highway, where it intersects with the Hummingbird Highway, will also see a major improvement with a new roundabout.