by Charles Gladden
BELIZE CITY, Thurs. Feb. 1, 2024
Daily commuters heading to the north or neighboring villages and communities within the Belize District, will be the first to experience the new and almost-completed Haulover Bridge situated on the Philip Goldson Highway near Mile 5 just outside of Belize City.
And, yes, it is not fully completed, as the bridge, which cost BZ$30million, is only open for vehicular traffic as of today, Thursday, February 1. Pedestrians are not yet allowed to use the bridge because the safety hand railings are not fully installed.
“Today, we’re doing a soft opening of the Haulover Bridge. This is being done in an effort for us to get traffic onto the new structure because of the old alignment. We have to tie onto the existing road, and so, at that intersection is where we will have a high elevation, so we need to close off the old approach so that traffic could be transferred to the new bridge,” said Evondale Moody, Chief Engineer at the Ministry of Infrastructure Development and Housing (MIDH).
According to Moody, the bridge can withstand natural disasters, even a Category 5 hurricane, and he believes that with proper maintenance its lifespan should be over 100 years.
“This is the first bridge that was designed by a Belizean, built by a Belizean, [and] supervised by a Belizean. How can you not be proud of a situation like this—and you all are seeing this. It’s an awesome experience to be here,” said Minister of Infrastructure Development and Housing, Hon. Julius Espat.
While the bridge is on its final leg of completion, the MIDH is urging motorists to reduce their speed when driving on the bridge, and not to overtake.
The construction to replace the old Haulover Bridge began in 2021 after it was found that it was in dire need of replacement. The old Haulover Bridge, built in 1942, was one of the country’s longest bridges, and after it was completed ferries in the area were done away with.
Sometime in mid-March 2024, the official opening for the bridge is set to take place