Friday, June 14, 2024

Construction debris under the Boca del Rio bridge poses danger to boaters


Several boat captains are asking the respective authorities at the San Pedro Town Council (SPTC) to remove what is believed to be construction debris from around and beneath the Sir Barry Bowen bridge in Boca del Rio Area, including a large metal object jutting out of the water. This object in the water is deemed a navigational hazard to boat operators, particularly those traversing under the bridge at night.
Tour operators and fishermen using that route daily to either access the island’s windward coast or the lagoon side are asking to do so with extreme caution. Some of these captains fear the worst in the case of an accident. One of them shared that if a boat at high speed hits the iron object, it could cause severe damage to the vessel and put lives in danger. Other debris observed by boat captains in the area includes lumber still nailed and sticking out from different regions. They also report rocks in the water, which can cause an accident. Thus, they hope the SPTC or other authorities, such as the Belize Port Authority, move quickly to remove hazardous debris from the channel underneath the bridge.

The SPTC was contacted and informed of the complaint. The person on duty indicated that they were unaware of the issue, and it was the first time they had heard about it. They said the appropriate personnel would be notified to address the alarming problem of risking vessels and boaters’ safety. The Belize Port Authority branch on the island said they would inspect the area and make necessary recommendations to the Town Board.
Issues with the bridge
Boat operators say traveling through the Boca del Rio channel and underneath the bridge has completely changed with the new bridge. They claim the bridge is lower, and extra caution must be exercised when the tide is high to avoid hitting the structure, particularly with large vessels. They claim this was not the case with the original bridge and criticized the SPTC for not consulting with the public on the new bridge’s design.

While the bridge reconstruction seems finalized, Mayor Gualberto’ Wally’ Nuñez stated in February that a formal inauguration would occur in the coming weeks following the project’s completion. At the inauguration, the Mayor is expected to provide the final cost of the bridge.

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