The Belize new Coastal Highway features a crucial intervention for the whole country; it was implemented in 14 months, as per the contracting authority’s period and provisions, by a dedicated team using high technological standards BIM design.
The Coastal Highway in Belize is currently a minor arterial road, providing an alternative link for all travelers from North and South of Belize District. The 58 km long infrastructure, also known as Manatee Highway or “Shortcut”, plays a key role within the country’s road network, despite its present conditions, as it connects the cities of La Democracia and Hope Creek and the George Price and Hummingbird motorways.
An important section of the motorway crosses flat areas under landscape protection, such as the Central Belize Jaguar Corridor and the Manatee forest reserve, which are unusable in the rainy season due to inadequate drainage systems. Along the route 11 single or double-lane bridges are located, with spans ranging from 5 to 64 meters, made in wood, steel or reinforced concrete, both structurally and hydraulically inefficient; yet they are fundamental for local communities providing the only road link between the villages of Gales Point and Mullins River.
Politecnica has provided the requested technical assistance for the rehabilitation of the motorway, to turn it into an all-weather road as per the AASHTO-LRFD standard specification. The existing feasibility study was updated, the preliminary and detailed design were also developed, by identifying the climate-change related hydraulic vulnerability, assessing the hydrological and hydraulic conditions of each zone and drafting different design solutions in terms of road planimetric and altimetric alignment.
The infrastructure design was integrated by a campaign of geotechnical, environmental and bridge degradation surveys carried out along 800 km2 of the region crossed by the road network, with an impressive aerial topographic campaign using LIDAR, the Laser Imaging Detection and Ranging system. The hydrological/hydraulic modelling of the entire area was done by bathymetric surveys of all the main rivers. The activities also included the HDM-4 software transport analysis, the environmental and social impact assessment and the road safety analysis.
The particular approach of Politecnica Team in charge of infrastructures made a Case Study, in the field of the new infrastructures design, of the new Coastal Highway project. At design and modelling stage of the route alignment, various software were used with the aim of testing their effective interoperability (IFC exchange files).
Structures like manholes and bridges were modeled through the use of BIM software such as Revit and Tekla and subsequently imported on Roads (among the main BIM software for road design). This smart use of BIM workflows has allowed, in addition to greater precision in the calculation process, to identify and solve many interferences and problems otherwise invisible.
The studies output resulted in the tender documents for the construction start of the new coastal highway. This new infrastructure shall provide better access to the existing highways in Belize along the backbone of the national infrastructure network, opening the South of the country to trade and tourism to promote the implementation of further upgrading works.