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Better roads for Belize
Development projects provide major boost to the Central American country’s transport network
The OPEC Fund-co-financed project will improve the primary link to the Caracol Archaeological Site in Belize's Cayo District - one of the country's most important tourism areas.
As published in the 03/2020 issue of the OPEC Fund Quarterly.
A major transportation project in Belize is set to ease travel constraints in the Central American country, particularly the agriculture and tourism sectors – the two main drivers of GDP growth.
Supported by a US$10 million loan from the OPEC Fund, the ‘Upgrading of Caracol Road Project, Phase II’ will improve a 42.9 km stretch that provides the sole link between the George Price Highway (which originates in the country’s largest city, Belize City) and the Caracol Archaeological Site in the Cayo district, one of Belize’s most important tourism areas.
In addition to improving this primarily unpaved road, works will include the reconstruction and replacement of eight bridges and installation of drainage systems that will be resilient against torrential rains and flooding experienced in this tropical region.
The OPEC Fund is partnering with the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development and the government of Belize to finance the project. The first phase of the project was also co-financed by the OPEC Fund, with a US$40 million loan that will rehabilitate a 42.5 km segment of the Caracol Road.
In addition to the anticipated boost in tourism upon the project’s completion (estimated at more than 100,000 visitors per year), construction activities will provide job opportunities for both skilled and unskilled workers. Transport costs will fall, benefiting agricultural producers (particularly citrus growers) and those involved in timber production.
The OPEC Fund is pleased to help finance this project in support of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) eight and nine in particular, on decent work and economic growth, and on industry, innovation and infrastructure,” said OPEC Fund Director-General Dr Abdulhamid Alkhalifa. “The road is vital in providing income-generation opportunities for tens of thousands of people and is well-aligned with the government’s recently-launched Comprehensive National Transportation Master Plan.”
Over its three decade-long partnership with Belize, the OPEC Fund has approved close to US$106 million to strengthen the country’s transportation sector.
Transportation project highlights
Haulover bridge replacement: US$12 million
Co-financed by the OPEC Fund and the Caribbean Development Bank, this project will replace a metal bridge built over 70 years ago with a safer, modern, 147m-long structure west of Belize City. The bridge, which will link two highways to the airport, will help boost socio-economic activities in the region and accommodate rising traffic levels. Around 70,000 people are expected to benefit from the project.
The Haulover Bridge project will replace a metal bridge - built in 1947 - with a safer, modern, 147m-long structure west of Belize City.
Airport Link Road Project: US$11.78 million
This recently-completed project connects the communities of Ladyville and Western Paradise, and forms a direct connection between the Philip Goldson International Airport and the George Price Highway. Works included construction of a carriageway, bridge and roundabouts, and upgrading of airport access roads. This is providing communities with an easier, cheaper and safer means of transport.
The Goldson International Airport in Belize.
Reconstruction of Hummingbird Highway: US$12 million
This project is reconstructing the entire 85 km Hummingbird Highway, which will provide a regional road network between the capital Belmopan and Dangriga town. New bridges are also being built to alleviate travel bottlenecks. As the stretch passes through major agricultural, industrial and tourism areas, the project will boost income-generation and access to social amenities.