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Swing Bridge Was ‘Accident Waiting to Happen,’ Says Contractor

Swing Bridge Was ‘Accident Waiting to Happen,’ Says Contractor
November 08
17:36 2019

Swing Bridge Was ‘Accident Waiting to Happen,’ Says Contractor

The dilapidated Belize City Swing Bridge was an “accident waiting to happen,” according to Bill Lindo, the contractor who was hired to repair and restore the bridge.

While Lindo would not comment much further on the matter, he did indicate to the Reporter on Monday that had the Belize City Council not embarked on repairing the bridge when it did, a serious situation could have arisen.

The Council, meanwhile, issued a press release on Monday in which it offered an update on the project to repair the bridge. It said that its “initial assessment of the state of the bridge revealed serious structural issues, but none so grave that required the complete closure of the bridge.” But there were critical components that required urgent repairs. The guard rails had rotted so severely, and the condition of the base plates had fallen below the walkway. There were also gaps on the western pedestrian walkway.

When the walkway was removed, that was when the state of the structure became evident and the urgent repairs became more extensive and necessary, caused by neglect by previous Councils.

The Council said that it had not anticipated that the pedestrian walkway would have taken so long to be reopened, but that it will not reopen it until all technical tests show that it is completely safe. That is expected to occur in about three weeks’ time because of the unplanned but necessary work that is underway.

Girders have been replaced and new braces for the walkway were installed. The Council is also painting a protective coat on the bridge to slow down the pace of the exterior deterioration and is installing six solar-powered lights to improve visibility during night-time traffic.

The Council discourages pedestrians who cross at the top of the bridge, placing themselves in dangerous situations. This practice is prohibited, the Council warns.

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