The Government of Belize through the Ministry of Works held a groundbreaking ceremony for its Sixth Road Project yesterday, February 24, 2020, in La Democracia Village, Belize District. Under the project, approximately 58.04km (36.2 miles) of the Coastal Highway will be upgraded.

Financing for the project was secured through the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and the United Kingdom Caribbean Infrastructure Partnership Fund (UKCIF). The project was appraised by the CDB and a loan approved by its board of directors to the Government of Belize while grant funds were approved by the UKCIF.

The Coastal Highway Project will include the construction and paving of the entire 58km of road and the rehabilitation and reconstruction of 10 bridges across various creeks and rivers along the highway. The construction works will generally follow the existing road alignment and will only deviate in areas where improvement to the horizontal alignment is required for safety.

The road, which commences at the Coastal Highway/George Price Highway intersection, will have an improved T-junction intersection to better channelize traffic movement from the newly upgraded road. The end of the Coastal Highway, where it intersects the Hummingbird Highway, will also see major improvement with a new roundabout intersection.

The project includes the construction of earthen embankments, earthen trapezoidal drains, crushed gravel pavements, and two (3.60m) lanes with (1.5m) shoulders conforming to a 60 to 100kph design speed. The bridge structures have various spans ranging from 12.0m to 32.0m with a trafficable width of 12.0 meters. All bridges are designed to American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) standards and will be constructed from a combination of composite steel beams, reinforced concrete and prestressed concrete. Road furniture such as line markings, traffic signs, lighting and road studs are also included.

With the ‘no objection’ from the CDB, on December 2, 2019, the Government of Belize through the Ministry of Works executed the award and signing of two construction contracts to the lowest evaluated bidder, the joint venture firm of Imer Hernandez Development Co. Ltd./Construcciones y Carreteras S.A. de C.V., in the amount of Lot 1 – BZ$62,971,611.45 and Lot 2 – Bz$70,220,413.69 to carry out the Coastal Highway Upgrading Project.

Works should commence immediately with completion expected in 36 months. The project will be managed by the Project Execution Unit of the Ministry of Works and the Italian based consultancy firm, Politecnica Ingegneria Ed Architettura Società Cooperativa, will provide Engineering and Administrative supervision of the civil works.