The much anticipated Bi-national Border Bridge between Mexico and Belize opened on Wednesday, May 15, 2013. The Mexican Government had dispatched personnel from the Mexican Army to Belize to assist the Belizean government in the construction of a stretch of approximately 500 meters of highway that is located on the Belizean side of the northern border in the Santa Elena area of the Corozal District, connecting the new bridge.
At the new international bridge traffic flow of freight vehicles, import, export and empty units will be from Monday to Friday from 8:00am to 5:00pm. Private vehicles and buses will also be allowed access to the bridge 24 hours a day, all year round. The old international bridge, identified henceforth as Subtentiente Lopez, will be used for the entrance and exit of pedestrians with a schedule of 24-hour operation, 365 days a year and only private vehicles leaving Mexico will be allowed to enter Belize between the hours of 9:00 am and 8:00pm – 365 days a year.
Belize and Mexico signed an agreement for the construction of the bridge back in June of 2005 when the then President of Mexico, Vicente Fox, visited Belize. The Mexican government agreed to finance the construction of the bridge, 500 meters of road from the bridge into the Belizean territory, and the access road from the bridge to the Subteniente Lopez community in Santa Elena located in the state of Quintana Roo. Those projects were completed since 2008.
However, the Belize government was unable to construct the stretch of road, approximately 500 meters off the foot of bridge on the Belize side of border. The Mexican government said that the project was in reference to an agreement between the two governments that was first made in 2008 to open a new international bridge to encourage trade between the two countries. The Mexican government anticipates that the bridge will offer more efficient and secure movement of people and goods and will directly benefit more than 2,900 people living on both sides of the Belize-Mexico border.
The construction of the bridge and access road is estimated to have cost the Mexican government approximately 150 million pesos or at today’s rate a little over $27Mil in Belize currency. Photos and Article by: Lincoln Edward Eiley