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Philip Goldson highway upgrades take shape Print E-mail
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Thursday, 01 June 2017 00:00

Earlier this week ,we at the Guardian Newspaper took the opportunity to visit the Phillip Goldson Highway formally the Northern Highway. Our visit took us, to that section between Travellers Limited and the Airport junction. That section of highway is under construction. It was not our first visit to that section of highway and we definitely don’t plan for it to be our last visit. This most recent visit had to be done in two parts for us to get a better appreciation for the scope of works being carried out there. The first part of the visit took place on Tuesday morning and the second part was on Tuesday night. The civil works and road furnishings are almost complete to the section between the Haulover Bridge and the Airport Road Junction. The old road was scarified, filled and widened. Modern road building methods has been used. Sheet piles were driven and capped on the riverbank to form a retainer wall. This is being sampsoned by STEEL RODS that connected CEMENT TIEBACKS that were built on the other side of the road. In other locations along the river’s edge GABIONS were built and placed to buttress the road shoulders. Gabions are used in many situations including the stabilization of earth movement and erosion, river control reservoirs, canal refurbishment, landscaping and retaining walls. This is the type of problem we have along the banks of the Houlover Creek where the shoulders of the highway interacts with the water. They can be manufactured in welded mesh or woven wire and filled with stones.  Gabions are fast to erect and do not need tensioning. They keep their shape, free from bulges and depressions and fit easily against the river banks. It is possible to cut holes in them if needed to pass pipes etc through and they can be machine or hand filled.

After the road was compacted and prepared, the asphalt was laid and the road furnishings such as medians, curbs, side drains, drainpipes, line markers, signage and the most important thing, lights have been installed and more light continue to be installed. The lights are what obliged us to take a night visit to the site. It’s really a sight to behold when one looks at the beauty of the area being illuminated by the lights. Everything from painted lines, signs, the asphalt, the trees the creek, to the beautiful buildings which are newly constructed in the area standout. That section of highway may technically be a highway, but in real life, it’s the main street for those persons who may live work or own businesses along both sides of that road.

Readers will recall that area as being one of the darkest stretches of highway and the scene for many accidents, many of which have been fatal. People are always walking along or crossing that road to get to their homes, work or businesses and that type of interaction between pedestrian and vehicular traffic had to be addressed. The lights, signs and markings will do just that. We invite Belizeans to take the time out to visit that area at night to see it with their own eyes. There is not even the, need to own a vehicle to go see it as Ladyville has a very effective bus transportation system.

Back to our day visit- we started it on the other side of the bridge around the area of Sol Belize Ltd. and Travellers Ltd where on the other side of road around where Marudo’s Meat used to be, the civil works have now commenced with a process called De-mucking. De-mucking is where the organic material or silt or in Belizean terms- soft mud is excavated and replaced with new and harder material, being HARDCORE, STONES or some sort of SOLID COMPOSITE MATERIAL. This new material is then compacted and forms the base for the building of a new road or sidewalk or drain or canal or a building. In this case along the area where the de-mucking is taking place a square- bottom or box-drain is presently being constructed and the preparatory work is taking place alongside the drain, for the widening and construction of the new road carriageway. According to the contractor CISCO CONSTRUCTION LIMITED, they are in the process of hiring persons to dig drains from the boxdrains, leading to the sea on one side and to the river / creek on the other side of the road. These persons would be hired on contract and will be paid based on the amount of work they produce. We recall that the same system of de-mucking took place during the civil works for the aforementioned area on the other side of the bridge. We were informed that many of the same processes and a few others will be utilized on this portion of road , just like on the upper portion, on the other side of the bridge. If this section of the civil works is done and looks anyway like the works on the other side of the bridge, it will be a thing of quality and beauty.

Of course there are persons such as those in the PUP, who will chant the old PUP chant that people can’t eat concrete or steel or asphalt or stones. They can’t tell that to the hundreds of men and women who are working on this project. These works allows these workers to put food on the table for themselves and their families every day. Then there is also the spinoff from this type of construction boom, everyone from the shops, babysitters, cooks, banks, credit unions and many others benefitting from this sort of construction. There is also another effect these improvements bring to this area. We call it the “PEOPLE and BUSINESSES WHO CAME AND WILL COME .” as new businesses have opened up and continue being opened up in the area. Businesses like Mirab, Universal, Caribbean Tyres, Caribbean Auto Sales, DK Supermarket, QA Auto rentals and many others that have either