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M.I.D.H. Considering Toll for Coastal Highway

Mar 9, 2023

M.I.D.H. Considering Toll for Coastal Highway

The Coastal Highway is on schedule to be completed later this year. It is a project that provides alternative access for commuters to southern Belize.  Today, News Five caught up with Minister of Infrastructure Development and Housing, Julius Espat who says that the project was designed to mitigate flooding, but will generate substantial economic activities in that area. Minister Espat explains plans to put in place a toll, but it won’t be imposed on everyone.

Julius Espat

Julius Espat, Minister of Infrastructure Development & Housing

“We believe that it is a very important road, access way to the south. How does it help the other roadways? The more options you have, the less heavy traffic you have, because you spread out the weight. We are trying to do an S.I. right now to be able to divert the heavy traffic when that road is completed through the Coastal [Highway] and not the Hummingbird [Highway]. It has less villages, less population, less hills so that’s one positive about it. It helps with the flooding. The bridges that you see are being put in are at a certain height that it will not stop flooding and people wah say, “Oh yo build that road and wah big road come and yo can’t pass it for a day.” It is designed for that. You are going through a swamp so you can’t totally stop it, but you can alleviate it to a point. That’s another positive thing. But what’s awesome is you open a part of the country that nobody knew about. Yo wah have access now to the southern lagoon, to the northern lagoon, to the western lagoon. You’re passing caves now. You will see projects popping up. That road will open economic activity in that area too. And so we are proud of that road; as a country, we should be proud of that road.”

Duane Moody

“Are we considering putting a toll there?”

Julius Espat

“Yes, we are considering putting a toll for the Coastal [Highway] and one for the Caracol Road and we are working with the attorneys right now to see how that is done. And it is not a toll for the residents, it is not a toll for you and I; it will more be a toll for heavy equipment and people that only use it for agricultural purposes – the big trucks that come from B.S.I. and Santander and stuff like that.  So it is a toll for more heavy equipment and heavy loads and not the regular Belizean like us.”