Rehabilitation Works on Sir Barry Bowen Municipal Airstrip Resume After Delays
On February 15, Rodla Construction Limited signed a contract with the Belize Airport Authority (BAA) to conduct rehabilitation works on the Sir Barry Bowen Municipal Airstrip under the Aerodrome Rehabilitation Project. General Manager of the BAA, Thea Garcia Ramirez, told Love News that the project saw several delays including a national scarcity of bitumen, a material essential to the process. Garcia Ramirez explained that the issue has since been resolved and works have resumed on the air strip.
Thea Garcia Ramirez, General Manager, Belize Airports Authority: “Bitumen, there’s a top coat which basically is sort of the adhesive between what is there now and to put the hot mix on. So it acts like an adhesive or a bonding between the substances and there wasn’t enough of that. And then that is our main thing. But basically people, I think, would call it tar. We just didn’t have a lot of tar and that’s what keeps all the material together and keeps it on the surface. So because there wasn’t any coming in, there was a shortage, a scarcity, we had some delays and those delays also affected the timeline, the entire timeline.”
Garcia Ramirez also said that the works on the Sir Barry Bowen air strip are approaching the halfway mark and that the taxiway is being used as a temporary runway while the main runway is being rehabilitated.
Thea Garcia Ramirez, General Manager, Belize Airports Authority: “Where we’re at at the municipal airship is we have done the rehabilitative works on the taxiway and a complete two inch overlay of hot mix has now been placed on the taxiway. The municipal, because it has a good taxiway, a long enough taxiway now the operations or flights are now taking off and landing on the taxiway that we have already worked on. And now with the switch over of operations, now the main runway is left clear and now we are working on the main runway. So I think we are at about 45% completion with what we’re doing. And we hope, I believe, within the next month or so to be able to report to you and the Belizean public that we are done here at the municipal airstrip.”
The main runway is expected to be inoperable until July 29. Under the project the runways will also be fitted with increased safety measures including precision approach path indicator lights, which are currently only installed at the Philip Goldson International Airport. The delays in the completion of the Belize City airstrip has caused rehabilitation works on the Caye Caulker airstrip to be pushed back. Those works are expected to begin around mid-July.