Our Mayor & Community Work Together to Repair the Road North: BEGINNING SOON!

In just over a week, serious repair work will begin on the road north of San Pedro Town – from the Secret Beach junction to La Beliza at about 9 miles north.  Spearheaded by San Pedro Mayor Wally Nunez with the help of long-time Ambergris Caye resident Richard Gross, the co-owner of Casa Rana Belize, this project is such a great example of how the community, a grassroots movement, and the town can work, hand in hand, to get things done.  Big things.  Especially impressive in this incredibly hard economic time.  Road repair is just something that the local government just couldn’t afford to do at this time.

The team worked to raise over $50,000bzd from private donors – resort and home/condo owners – as well as from the local government.  Donations of materials, equipment, and personnel have been made by Fidel Ancona, an owner of the 50-acre quarry north as well as Ray Flint, who manages much of the heavy equipment for the quarry.

This will be all be used to tackle a job that is essential – anyone who drives the road north knows that it is in terrible shape. We need to enable rapid medical/fire/police response if needed, to reduce the cost of vehicle repairs, and make the road driveable for residents and for our recovering tourism industry.  AND to get this done before the rainy season really begins and the roads, already in bad shape, get even worse.

Repairs over the last few years have just been, literally, scraping the surface.

Here are some pictures of the road from yesterday.

AND to help right a job that was never done correctly in the first place.  You only need to visit the newest roads north of the quarry – where the roads are at least 12″ high and sloped at the edges to see how the original job should have been done.  It’s LOTS of material and lots of work – it’s estimated that as much as 65% of our island is below sea level.

Fill and grading and culverts, properly installed, will bring the road north up higher, smooth them out – ideally for over a year.  And then a maintenance plan will be in place.  There are even future plans to make the road even better.

Also, the money will be put in a separate account, earmarked ONLY for this project – and there will be transparency and reports to all those that donated money.

And from my perspective?  As a resident at about 7.5 miles north – who drives back and forth 5-6 times a week…sometimes more?  I…MY BACK…MY ACHING HIPS…I CAN’T WAIT FOR IT TO START!

But let me back up a bit…

To 2014.

In Spring of 2014, the local government announced that the road north would be paved (for 3 miles – from the bridge to Belizean Shores Resort.)  Before this – it was more of a dirt/sand path and when it rained, it was rutted and filled with holes.  Golf cart eating holes. Before the road, employees and visitors at resorts north of the bridge, generally, traveled to their jobs and vacations by boat.

The road was paved up to 3.3 miles north in 2014-2015 and then filled and graded to about 10 miles north.

There was also a Phase 2 – but that never happened.

But we can see now – especially where the road is low – that we need to build it up more.  During the rainy season or even at high tides, water runs right across the road causing all sorts of ruts and holes.  It’s exacerbated by the large trucks and heavy vehicle traffic.

So…7 years later, this amazing team is getting things done.  Money has been raised for the diesel (currently at about $11bzd a gallon!), the the culverts – 8″ to 12″ in diameter, and additional materials and manpower, if needed.

Let’s the ROAD WORK BEGIN!  In just over a week…completed in 5 days…this is fantastic news.

And…a note from me since I have your attention:

Can we use this as catalyst to clean up the road?  For over 7 years now, the road has been the main thoroughfare for our traffic – and the front entrance to hotels, rental houses and residences.  It’s no longer the “back door” – where you can throw trash or refuse or sargassum, make burn piles or hide old broken down appliances.

Do we want guests seeing TRASH when they are heading to their resorts?  We can blame visitors – we can blame foreigners – we can blame OTHERS but when the sides of our road is used as a refuse piles by resorts and home owners, we are not exactly setting a good example for anyone.

I can almost see why someone might be tempted to throw their trash bag on top of this.

AND…when your trash is not just ugly but is a dam that prevents water from escaping?  It’s not just ugly…it wrecks the road we all use.

Maybe this can be a new beginning!  I’m super excited and more than impressed.

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