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MIHD to repair rural road in the Toledo District

Tonight, there is good news for the residents of the rural communities in the Toledo District, who protested yesterday for the government to address the deplorable conditions of roads in their villages. The Ministry of Infrastructure Development has committed to responding to eleven areas of critical importance in the district. The ministry has dispatched three road engineers from Belmopan along with road maintenance operators and equipment from the ministry’s Stann Creek Road Maintenance Unit have been to the area. The team has been mobilized to the southernmost district for seven days in the first instance to address the eleven roads identified for immediate repairs. The ministry’s Chief Engineer, Lennox Bradley, explained that the ministry is doing all in its power to improve the overall road infrastructure in the district.

Lennox Bradley, Chief Engineer, MIDH: “Yes. The Toledo district has far more roads than what we have identified in the press release. The Toledo district has 379.3 miles of road and a good portion of that 379.3 miles are either gravel surface or earth road so they require regular maintenance. The 11 roads that we have identified, we have the ministry’s fleet of equipment from Stann Creek and Toledo deployed there and we have five contractors deployed elsewhere. We do have a two phased or two pronged approach that the action plan calls for. One is the regular maintenance that we have to carry out because that’s a daily activity on roads in the Toledo distinct and we have the other leg where we are trying to somewhat upgrade the road to a certain standard that will provide better all-weather access year round to residents, students and farmers, the common man and woman because road access really impacts the common man and woman. That is the basis of the action plan and we have the financial resources to try and bring the roads, the eleven roads that we have identified in that press release, up to a certain standard.” 

Bradley added that the road repairs are expected to take up to four months to complete due to the fact that they are working during the rainy season. 

Lennox Bradley, Chief Engineer, MIDH: “We have been building up our equipment capacity. We have also been building up over the past year and a half our human resources. So, we’re in a bit better position than we were a few years ago. We have better in house capability and thank goodness that is coming to fruition now because those are the sort of resources that we had mobilised and it will bring about results. But indeed, it’s a bit challenging because we have the weather on one side. On the other side too we’re also trying to facilitate the other sectors that contribute immensely to the national development of this country. But it also has its drawbacks, like for instance logging. I mean, we try to facilitate to a certain extent but we also expect the goodwill and the genuine faith of those loggers to be responsible enough not to be transporting heavy loads, logs, in the rainy season on those roads that are not designed to accommodate those loads. It’s an ongoing process and right now since we are in the rainy season, it’s not any sort of material that we will use to try and restore the small sections that are affected. We have to blast rockhills in selected areas, crush those rocks because again we don’t want too much coarse material where the ride in quality would negatively affect residents, students etc. No? So we have to crush these materials and that is where the expense comes in. So people might hear that we spend couple hundreds of thousands of dollars on selected roads and they might very well not see the standard that they expect out there but road construction is costly. Crushing up material is expensive but that is what the ministry has decided to do, get in there, blast the hills them, the rocky hills them, crush the material and try to provide the sort of quality of road system that the general public now is demanding out here.”

Road works will include the Boom Creek Road, various areas near Sunday Wood, Crique Sarco, Corazon, Otoxha, Dolores, Machakilha, Santa Cruz, San Jose, Santa Teresa, Mabil Ha, San Lucas, San Antonio, Crique Jute, and the Laguna, Monkey River and Aguacate Roads.