New Haulover Bridge Opens After Three Years of Construction
After more than three years of construction, the new Haulover Bridge saw a soft opening this morning as it is now open to vehicular traffic. Reporter Kendra Romero was at the event this morning. Here is her report.
Kendra Romero, Love News: It’s called a soft-opening which essentially means that the new Haulover Bridge is not fully functional, at least not yet. This morning, officials of the Ministry of Infrastructural Development and Housing gathered the approach of the new bridge, five miles on the Philip Goldson Highway. Evondale Moody, Engineering Coordinator, explained to the media that there are still works pending before there is the official inauguration.
Evondale Moody, Chief Engineer, Ministry of Infrastructure Development and Housing: “Well the idea is we want to have this one substantially completed and so they idea is to have that done by the first or second week in March. Once we could complete all the aspects of the new structure which includes the additional rails that we have pending and some tie ins that we have to do for the utility companies then we would consider the bridge to be 100% complete. We have been working on this project for two years and we have been supervising it over that period so it’s not just a one day inspection it is something that has been ongoing for the past two years. So we’re very much satisfied with the outcome of the structure and it’s long overdue for us to replace that old structure. So we’re very proud that we will be opening it up to traffic today.”
Kendra Romero, Love News: The brand new 30-million dollar bridge is expected to mitigate the dangers of the narrow structure it is replacing. Its upgraded and stylish design also lends to the image of a city that is modernizing its infrastructure. Minister Julius Espat, who is a career architect, says he is excited that this bridge is locally designed and built.
Julius Espat, Minister of Infrastructure Development and Housing: “I am excited because it’s Belizean made. I’m excited because it’s Belizean designed. I’m excited because it’s the Ministry of Infrastructure project execution unit is now regarded as the number one project execution unit in the entire Caribbean. We just got word from CDB and IDB that that is so. How can you not be proud as a ministry that oversees. It’s not red or blue and that I have stood by that from the day I was elected and from the day I was given the opportunity to be the minister. We represent all peoples. Red, blue, mauve, pink, of all colors.”
Kendra Romero, Love News: As for the locals, many are happy that they get to see this transition happen in the old capital.
Kendra Romero, Love News: How do you feel when you go across ?
Motorist: “Like we’re going to heaven.”
Reporter: What do you think of the bridge ?
Motorist: “It’s not finished as yet but it’s good and it’s an improvement to the country and we have to say praise the politicians because they came through today with something positive and we need a lot more positive development in this country. And all the citizens have to work towards development right ? So power to the politicians.”
Motorist: “Well I feel good. I have a small vehicle I wonder how the big trucks are going to go in.”
Kendra Romero, Love News: The Haulover Bridge Replacement Project is being overseen by Civil Engineer Megan Martinez. At this juncture, it is important to note that pedestrians are not allowed to access the new bridge as the safety hand railing is not fully installed. Reporting for Love News, I am Kendra Romero.