Belize City Mayor promises minimal disruptions during road improvements

After the ceremony at Excelsior PLUS News spoke with the  Mayor on multiple substantive issues involving City Hall. For several weeks now Belizeans living in the Old Capital have been inconvenienced by re-routes of traffic from major traffic centers, including the Belcan Bridge exit and entrance from Princess Margaret Drive around the Flag Monument. We queried the Mayor about it today.

Darrell Bradley – Belize City Mayor:
vlcsnap-2013-06-13-19h25m47s31Part of our infrastructure works included that we would do the approaches to all bridges and major intersections. So one of the first ones that we did was the approach by Caesar Ridge Road and Central American Boulevard leading into the Customs Department. We are going to do the intersection at St. John’s College and we are going to do the flag moment at the Northern Highway intersection, this is part of that project. We are doing an intersection where Coney Drive intersects Princess Margaret Drive. All of those are a part of our infrastructure program for Belize City. One of the reasons why it causes interruption is because of the area we have chosen to uplift. It is impossible that we would fix those areas without inconvenience to the residents.  What we have done is that we have fully deployed our Traffic Officers.  We are putting more people in the traffic Department. So Special Constables are now assisting with traffic. We have Security Guards assisting with traffic, so that we can more control the flow throughout Belize City while those works are going on.

According to the Mayor, residents can expect even further delays, because the Council is pushing to have not only that area but other major entrances and exits of the City, particularly bridges, fixed and cemented.

Darrell Bradley – Belize City Mayor:
Belcan BridgeThe work on the Belcan Bridge Approach will include the approach itself, which in front of Brad’s Store and Seaview, and it will also include the roundabout. So when these people finish the approach, we have a private contractor who will go forward and then they would do the roundabout, somebody  who had indicated to us that they could finish that work within two days.  We’re going to try to do as much of the work over the weekend, so it’s less interruption. Again, we have our Traffic people out there. We have our traffic people all the way up Central America Boulevard and BelChina Bridge, directing and rerouting traffic.  We know that it’s an inconvenience to residents, but a lot of it really cannot be helped because of the streets that we’re on. When we did Freetown Road also, because of the importance of that street to the traffic flow, it’s impossible to get away from interruptions.  We’re on North Front Street right now.  That work will take another month.  Again you’re going to have interruptions there.  We’re on New Road.  Again, those are major arteries leading out of downtown Belize City

We asked the Mayor whether the Council has publicized the area closures effectively and this was his response.

Darrell Bradley – Belize City Mayor:
One of the reasons why we hired a PR person was specifically to work with our ability to communicate with members of the public.  I know the PR person calls in on the morning talk shows to alert residents what streets will be closed. I’ve seen announcements, and I gave directions that these be done.  And I know that it has been done on Channel 5 and Channel 7, advising what streets have been closed, what areas have been open two-way, for example Vernon Street.  It now is open up to Central American Boulevard to the BelChina Bridge.  It’s been open for two-way traffic. There is publicity about these things.  It’s difficult to make a perfect system but we’re trying. We’re working on it and we’re doing our best.  And the best thing that we can really do is to really accelerate our efforts.

And finally, on Monday of this week the City Council was told to provide a substantive payment plan for its 2.3 million debt to Belize Waste Control for a judgment enforced since last April. The company has complained that all its wants is its money and it has no interest, at least not right now, in renegotiating the sanitation contract. But according to Mayor Bradley, the problems the two sides now face stem from that contract and it is important to him that the matter be included in their negotiations.

Darrell Bradley – Belize City Mayor:
It’s not that we have the problem with them, but the contract is too big.  It’s unsustainable to be paying so much.  that’s why we’re exploring things like the Residential Garbage Fee and other avenues to ensure that going forward there is some sustainability. iF I could have paid them, I would have paid them, bur I don’t have any account that has 2.3 million dollars in there.  The discussions with them has to include some sort of payment over time, and then it has to include what is of importance to the City of Belize and the residents of Belize, which is efficiency in the collection of garbage, and cost effectiveness.  So even if they’re concerned with only their garbage, as Mayor I can’t be concerned with that.

The two sides return to court on July 17.

About the Author