After serving Belize well for almost six decades the Haulover Bridge is looking to be replaced. It is a project that the previous administration had announced back in 2016, but nothing was done in this regard. According to the Minister of Infrastructure Development, Julius Espat the government felt the quotation given to replace the bridge was too bloated. Espat says as a result his ministry chose other options in saving the country millions of dollars.
Julius Espat, Minister of Infrastructure Development and Housing: “The Haulover Bridge replacement project Madam Speaker is funded by the Government of Belize and one of it’s longstanding international financing partners the OPEC Fund for International Development. Through a US $12 million dollar loan secured in October 2017. Since 2016 the Government of Belize identified the need for the replacement of the exiting bridge when it designed a single span steel arch bridge as the replacement structure. In 2018 and 2019 the procurement of a construction contractor took place which resulted in an offer of Belize $59 million dollars. That was considered to be $18 million dollars above budget. Negotiations to reduce that figure failed at that time. In 2020 the government took the decision to redesign the bridge structure using a local firm and locally available materials to be a multiple span reinforced concrete precast, prestressed structure. During that year the government suffered the loss of grant and loan funding from the European Investment Bank and the Caribbean Development Bank.”
Espat went on to speak about the contractors who will take the lead in the project. He also explained how the bids were handled.
Julius Espat, Minister of Infrastructure Development and Housing: “The new MIDH, Ministry of Infrastructure Development and Housing conducted a detailed review of the project Madam Speaker, commissioned a professional peer review of the design and commenced the procurement of a construction contractor in March of this year. Madam Speaker a pre qualification exercise ensured interested contractors were qualified to bid and submit offers. After the submission deadline in July 2021 the Ministry and the specialist consultant selected to assist with the evaluation of bids performed reviews and gave their recommendation of the contract award. With no objection from the funding agency the Government of Belize signed a contract for the Haulover Bridge replacement project with M&M Engineering Consultants Limited in the amount of Belize $30,999,991.49. It is anticipate Madam Speaker that works will commence immediately with a duration of approximately twenty four months. The project will be implemented by the Ministry of Development and Housing’s Project Execution Unit while Politecnica Engenharia Arquitectura SC Bridge Specialists Consultant of Italy will provide technical and administrative supervision.”
The completion of the project is estimated to be within 24 months.