News Release

UK-CDB-Belize Partnership Transforms Coastal Highway

Published on
group photo of stakeholders standing on upgraded coastal highway

More than 49,000 residents, including 3,000 daily road users now have access to the improved Coastal Highway which has been transformed from an unpaved, gravel road to a modern, climate-resilient corridor along the East coast of Belize. This USD78 million upgrade is as a result of a partnership between the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), the Government of the United Kingdom, and the Government of Belize under the United Kingdom Caribbean Infrastructure Fund (UKCIF). An Inauguration Ceremony was held today at the Gales Point Junction on the Coastal Highway to commemorate this significant achievement.

CDB Programme Manager, Infrastructure Partnerships, Sharon Griffith noted that the project is in keeping with the Bank’s strategic objective of building social resilience through improving access to basic social infrastructure and services.

“The new highway will provide a vital link between Southern and Central Belize. It has reduced travel distances between Dangriga and Belize City resulting in significantly enhanced connectivity. There is evidence of improved livelihood opportunities and the emergence of new businesses in the area, on account of the improved infrastructure along the corridor,” she said.  

The Coastal Highway Upgrading Project which was launched in 2020 is the first project to have infrastructure completed under the UKCIF. It included the upgrading of 59 km of unsealed roadway and drainage infrastructure, as well as the rehabilitation and building of new bridges. The improved, all-weather access passageway which links the George Price and Hummingbird Highways has also shortened travel times and improved safety along the road.

UK Minister for Americas and the Caribbean, David Rutley said, “The UK is committed to supporting projects that enhance economic prosperity for the people of Belize and the wider Caribbean. This £26 million grant from UKCIF to upgrade the Coastal Highway will have an enormous impact in improving road safety, building climate resilience and creating opportunities for Belizean businesses and residents. Following this successful launch, I congratulate all involved in this fantastic project – which is just the start of our efforts to improve critical infrastructure in the region.” 

British High Commissioner to Belize, Her Excellency Nicole Davison, also remarked, “The fact that residents in Gales Point, Mullins River, La Democracia and Hope Creek are no longer isolated when there is heavy rainfall, and residents including children and those most vulnerable can access essential health, education, and social services despite adverse weather conditions, demonstrates the tangible and positive difference this climate-resilient infrastructure is making in the everyday lives of Belizeans.”

She also lauded the strong partnership between the UK, the Caribbean Development Bank and Belize as embodied in the Coastal Highway and other initiatives.

The Coastal Highway Project was collaboratively funded through a £26 million grant from the United Kingdom, USD36.6 million in loan financing from the CDB, and a USD7.5 million contribution from the Government of Belize. The project also includes technical assistance projects to explore livelihood enhancement options for two communities along the road corridor.

Belize is also benefiting from UKCIF support for the ongoing Philip Goldson Highway and Remote Bypass Rehabilitation Project which involves a major transformation of 125 km of the key arterial route linking Belize City to the Mexican border. This, along with 11 other UKCIF projects are being delivered in partnership with the Caribbean Development Bank, in eight countries and one British Overseas Territory.

stakeholders walking on the upgraded highway
Residents and stakeholders walking along the newly upgraded Highway following the inauguration ceremony on Thursday. The Highway was upgraded at the cost of USD78 million.