The Coastal Highway in Belize

In Belize, there are no official definitions of what constitutes a highway, so the current Coastal Highway is something of a misnomer. Measuring 36 miles long, the Coastal Highway connects the village of La Democracia to Stann Creek Valley Road. Also known as the Manatee Highway, the Coastal Highway is, at least technically, a shortcut from points north to the Placencia Peninsula.

Currently, the entire length of the Coastal Highway is unpaved. This gravel roadway is deeply rutted, difficult to traverse with four-wheel drive vehicles in even the best weather, and, despite its relatively short length, takes just as long to drive as the much longer Southern Highway located several miles to the west.

The good news is that the government of Belize has committed to paving the Coastal Highway in order for the roadway to better live up to its name. At the end of 2017, the government of Belize signed a contract with an Italian engineering firm. According to statements from Rene Montero, the Minister of Works, the government has allocated 80 million dollars to pave and upgrade the entire length of the Coastal Highway.

Currently, a feasibility study and analysis is being conducted, with construction expected to begin at the end of 2018 or early 2019.

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