By Alexis R. Milan Staff Reporter
The Chetumal Street Bridge should be completed by November, followed by work on a Community Center, National Bank and new Civic Center in the Lake Independence area, according to Minister of State Mark King.
King said the bridge is currently at the midway point of completion and his ministry is carefully planning for the projects following the completion of the bridge.
He explained the bridge should be drivable no later than January 2015 depending on rainfall over the next several months.
King said the plot of land designated for the Community Resource Center and another area designated for the National Bank and Civic Center have already been cleared. The first layer of filling has already been put on each designated plot of land, which are situated across from each other, separated by Chetumal Street on the Lake I side of the bridge.
King said all work in the area should be completed within the next two years.
He added that the government is already in the process of tendering contracts for those projects and work is expected to commence as early as November when the bridge is expected to be completed.
King said that government made the decision to relocate the Civic Center to that location after they realized they had an extra four acres they could use. Also there would be a much larger area for parking than the Center’s original location, King said.
King estimated that once all the projects were completed a total of approximately $70 million would have been spent in the area. King also said that the government hired all residents from Lake I to clear the area.
King said residents in the area have been encouraged to apply for their piece of land and to comply with the way the community is being planned. He even indicated that a market would be constructed in the area for residents.
He explained that there has been a rush of business people who are eager to have businesses in the new area but said due to a limitation on prime land the number of businesses accepted would also be limited. King said businesses will be in the front pieces of land and residential areas will be behind.
King also said that a police station would be placed beside the bridge on the Lake I side to ease the fears of Belama residents who were concerned about a rise of crime in their community.
CISCO Construction Supervisor Edmond Robateau said they have currently completed two-thirds of the 195 foot-long-bridge and have 35 workers on-site everyday.
Robateau said the bridge is designed to withstand and accommodate the weight of very large trucks and heavy equipment.