Sinanan: Over $200m spent on shelved road plans

Date: 
Wednesday, July 8, 2020 - 20:00

Governments over the course of many years have paid over $200 million in research work for road and drainage works which were ultimately not utilised in any way, Minister of Works and Transport Rohan Sinanan said yesterday.

“We did a lot of studies in Trinidad, as I said if you, the former minister of Water Resource Ganga Singh, he also referred to we’ll look at the studies, the studies are on the shelf and why we not using the studies because he’s quite aware that we spent a lot of money on foreign consultants to do these studies but they were all loans that we had to pay back and those loans were just for the studies.

“They had no engineering and the hydraulic designs and drawings that goes along with it. No plan in place as to how we operationalise these plans,” Sinanan said during the sod-turning ceremony for the Maritime Roundabout project in Barataria.

Sinanan said as a result of this the Government approached the Development Bank of Latin America (CAF) concerning speaking to consultants to operationalise those findings.

“Rather than going to pay for another study to do the south West Penisula, we engaged CAF and we told them look, you give us a grant for that, you pay for a consultant because the consultant has to satisfy the lender that the plan is implementable,” he said.

“So they brought in the consultant, we engaged the drainage division of the Ministry of Works, local government, we engaged all the stakeholders and they are working on an operational plan for us, as for how we can implement all the studies that we have.”

However, he noted that this arrangement placed them in a new loan arrangement with the Development Bank over a 30-year period.

The Morvant to Maritime project was one of the programmes operationalised in this manner and is set to cost an estimated $48.5 million. He said they hope to bring further alleviation to traffic and flooding concerns in the Morvant and Barataria area with its completion.

“You’d recognise you’d spend more time approaching the ramp there than just clearing the bus route, than you would probably spend from Aranguez to Port-of-Spain if you’re going down the highway because there is a bottleneck in that area. So part of this project is to try to assist the traffic flow in the area by widening up the intersections, creating proper roundabouts and so trying to cut down on the time spent on the Morvant junction,” he said.

“Also, there is a rebuilding of the bridge. That structure has been delipidated for quite a while. As I said before, there was some repairs done before that did not help with the flooding, so once that bridge is rebuilt we expect to have some relief in terms of the flooding which will help the major flood problem we have in the Barataria roundabout.”

The project will see the widening of the bridge to six lanes as well as improvement of the Priority Bus route and Maritime intersections. The project is expected to be completed in 11 months.