A few days ago some friends and I traveled north and had to cross over the Haulover Bridge. While approaching the bridge we noticed that a cement truck and a bus were coming towards Belize City and were half way across the bridge, which meant that those heavy vehicles were about mid-span.
So I drove real slow because those were wide vehicles, but that wasn’t the problem, I noticed that the Bridge was shaking a little, then someone in the car asked about who could swim and who couldn’t.

The Haulover Bridge is a ‘Truss-Bridge’ yes, that is the correct technical term for that type and style of Bridge,

illustration courtesy: engineeringClicks,com

Well !, I’m not too comfortable with trusting a bridge that was built almost 70 years ago and now shakes. So I decided to write this short new article about the Haulover Bridge and the glorious replacement that will be built within the next 2 years.

Minister of Infrastructure ‘Julius Espat’ and principals of M&M Engineering

A government press statement released yesterday August 23rd. says that work will commence immediately, (and not a moment too soon)

The Government of Belize has signed an agreement valued at $30million. with local construction company, M&M Engineering, they will build the bridge.

And yes it should be. It is the year 2021 and Belizean engineers should know by now how to build a simple 140 yards long bridge.

A few months ago the labor unions went on strike over a 10% wage reduction issue, so many may be asking ‘where is the money coming from to build the new bridge in this time of deep austerity measures, well, the previous administration was given a grant in the sum of $24-million Bz$ from OFID (which is the OPEC Fund For International Development) for the construction of a new Haulover Bridge .

The current government is adding a few million to that and will build the new bridge, which is urgently needed because it would be catastrophic if some terrible collapse occurred with the old bridge.

How The Bridge Got Its Name
Many years ago, during log-wood days, when Belize use to ship hard-wood such as mahogany to Britain, the large log-wood were floated down the Belize River to that location., then the trees were HAULED-OVER the banks by lumber-jack etc. to be loaded onto waiting ships.
And, that’s how ‘The Haulover Bridge’ got its name.

The very first ‘Haulover Bridge’ was erected 80 years ago; (1941-1942). Prior to that there was a ferry that carried vehicles across the river. As you will notice from the archives photo below the bridge was built during colonial times, and the log-wood days had already passed.

The construction of the bridge built in 1941-1942 was financed by foreign business interest that needed to traverse the highway more frequently to support their business operations.

Haulover Bridge 1942, photo, courtesy: Belize Archives Dept. (the bridge was rebuilt in early 1960s)
Photo by: August 2019

With the growth of the entire country, and especially in the suburbs of Lords Bank, Ladyville and Vista Del Mar, there has been a huge increase in the traffic load that the old bridge was never designed to withstand. The department of transport in Belmopan estimates that more than *7,500 vehicles cross the bridge everyday, some are very heavy trucks loaded with soil or concrete. (*revised)

The new bridge will be just up-stream from the current bridge; right next to it, which is a common practice when building a replacement bridge, most construction is done right next to the old bridge.

I don’t think there are any adult person in Belize that has not crossed over the Haulover Bridge, because it is the only roadway from Belize City to travel to the northern districts. However; since last years opening of the ‘John Smith’ Link Hwy. we now have an alternate route that connects to the northern highway. (AKA: Philip Goldson Hwy.)

The Government of Belize said, “The structure to replace the Haulover Bridge was designed according to modern standards to be a single span, structural steel arch, supported on bored piles. Procurement of a construction contractor for the new bridge commenced in August 2018 and located two qualified contractors; only one submitted a bid in September 2019 after a prolonged period of clarifications. At BZ$59.4 million, that bid was BZ$18 million over-budget and negotiations to reduce the figure failed.”

So it’s really great news that the most traveled bridge of the country’s roadways will be replaced, because the infrastructure of a nation is the primary mechanism by which growth and economic development occurs.

To Be Continued . . . stay tuned for up coming Business article.

Written & Compiled by: / digitalBelize,LIVE Staff writer – Tuesday, August 24th. 2021 –