Toll fees go into effect, long lines of vehicles at Sir Barry Bowen Bridge
Monday, November 15th, 2021
On Monday, November 15th, the new tolls for using the Sir Barry Bowen Bridge went into effect. However, the flow of traffic crossing the bridge saw long lines causing delays and frustrating some of the motorists. The traffic backlog was caused by most people not having pre-paid passes and paying at the bridge.
At the booth near the foot of the bridge, personnel from the San Pedro Traffic Department made sure those needing to pay to cross the bridge had pre-paid passes or paid onsite. According to officers onsite, many motorists did not have their pre-paid passes and had to wait at the bridge for their tickets from the toll booth. This caused long lines as golf carts, pick-up trucks, and large vehicles with construction material waited to cross the bridge connecting San Pedro Town with north Ambergris Caye. Toll fees can be paid when accessing the structure, or a monthly pass can be purchased, which is more economical. The San Pedro Town Council (SPTC) advises the public to acquire their pre-paid passes to avoid delays when crossing the bridge. These tickets/passes can be purchased at the traffic department at the SPTC anytime between 8AM-5PM Monday through Friday.
As per the graphic below, these are the rates and who they apply to.
Mayor Gualberto ‘Wally’ Nuñez said collecting the fees is to keep the current bridge in good condition. The other plan includes building a new bridge. The existing Sir Barry Bowen Bridge is expected to be fully renovated and turned into a stronger, concrete structure. The local administration expects the island to continue developing rapidly, which calls for better and stronger infrastructure.
While some residents believe there should be no fees because the country is still recovering from the financial burdens posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, others consider the rates reasonable. However, they called on the traffic department to address the traffic flow at the bridge as the delay on the first day caused many inconveniences.
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