Roatan’s Beauty, Truth & Wisdom
The final 10.6 kilometer stretch of the PO-35 is being paved all the way to Camp Bay village.

Roatan’s Far East is Opening up

Many islanders can’t quite believe it’s finally happening.
Many have been asking the government for it for decades. While the paving of the Punta Gorda to Camp Bay road has been promised by many different Honduran presidents, the work has finally begun. If all goes to plan, the Punta Gorda to Camp Bay Village road will be completely paved by the end of 2024. It’s very likely Roatan’s east end will never be the same.

The actual road construction is being done by a crew of 64 workers from Constructora Celaque S. de RL., a Tegucigalpa-based construction company that began operations in 1996. Celaque has plenty of road construction on the mainland; 53 kilometers of road repaving between La Paz and San Pedro de Tutule, and repaving of a 23-kilometer road stretch from Santa Rosa to Gracias.

The six meter wide concrete road is designated as PO-35, and is being built to last several decades and accommodate growing vehicular traffic. “We prepare it very well before paving,” said Eng. Astrid González of Consultorias y Proyectos R&R [CPRR] who overlooks the quality of work being done on the project. The roads’ thick substrate has a combination of cement, sand, and rock. The actual concrete road surface is made of 8.5-inch-thick, 4,000 PSI concrete. “The life span of hydraulic concrete is 50 years,” said Eng. Héctor Pavón, also of CPRR. “As long as you give it maintenance.”

As a comparison, the white-top paving project currently done in Sandy Bay is seven meters wide, with an additional one meter sidewalk on each side. That road’s concrete surface is rated at 5,200 PSI and has a projected lifespan of 30 years.

The construction of the Punta Gorda to Camp Bay road is being funded by Honduran national funds and is estimated at Lps. 203 Million ($8.2 million USD). Central government has sent very little road construction money to Roatan’s two municipalities for the last six years.

The road work has several fronts; the main paving team began about 300 meters east of Punta Gorda. Another group is preparing substrate up the hill from Camp Bay, on kilometer seven of the construction project.

The road paving will change the life of thousands of islanders and open up the remaining 20 percent of land on Roatan on the very east of the island. The communities of Punta Blanca, Calabash Bight, Diamond Rock, Camp Bay, and Camp Bay Village will now be more easily accessible. “We estimate that 22,000 people will directly benefit from the road construction,” said Eng. Pavón.

Roatan’s east end will never be the same.

Most of land developers are happy and many island residents are happy as well. “I am amazed at the engineering. It’s over the top,” said Fernando Santana, a developer of the Aroha Estates located right on the main road about 300 meters from Punta Gorda. “It looks like a very high quality job.”

Also, a couple dozen existing resorts, housing developments, hotels, and restaurants will benefit from the 10.6 kilometer paved road. “We have seen a lot of false starts over the last 20-30 years,” said Erick Anderson, an American businessman who has lived in east Roatan since the 1960s. “I am surprised they have went ahead with the Camp Bay road before redoing, resurfacing the Oak Ridge road. It is in terrible shape now.”

Indeed, the JSG western border to Oak Ridge road is in terrible shape and has to be rebuilt. On February 8, JSG residents cut off traffic between the two municipalities for several hours, demanding that central government take action.

The paving of the final stretch of PO-35 road will no doubt transform the island; no more inaccessible land on Roatan’s far east, no more dust from the road, and no swerving side to side to avoid giant potholes. “We have to get on the development train. When I turned that page my life became a lot easier, because it is happening all over Roatan,” said Santana.

The work began on 17 October, 2023, and is expected to finish by October 2024. What started as the worst road on the island may soon become the best road on the island. It will likely be reality that drivers can stay on pavement for the entirety of the 54 kilometer national road PO-35, from West Bay to Camp Bay Village.