Speaking during a tour of the highway section yesterday, Works and Infrastructure Minister Dr Suruj Rambachan, who was flanked by junior Minister Stacy Ramnarine and OAS officials, noted that other sections of the highway have also been delivered to the Brazilian contractor including the Mosquito Creek segment which was being lifted to protect the highway against high tides.
“This is a first-hand view of the immense progress that is taking place with respect to the highway from Golconda to Point Fortin, the section between Golconda and Debe is being paved and this four kilometres will be available for use by the public by the second week of August, barring rain, for the latest the third week of August,” Rambachan said.
“What they are doing is they are creating the roadways in a sort of diamond shape which will accommodate the traffic so there will be no traffic pile-up at that point in time, it’s a really intricate design and lot of thought has gone into ensuring that the public is in no way displaced as a result of the construction,” he said, adding that all of the utilities, such as lighting were being put in place for the segment’s opening.
“Not only is the highway being paved but the utilities to provide the lighting of the highway is already placed on the ground so that all of the cables are on the ground and just a matter now of TTEC to place the poles and make the connections in the next couple of weeks,” Rambachan said.
Asked about cost overruns on the project, he said, “we do not expect any. As you know it is a fixed price contract and except where there are price increase in materials where there might be some variations but so far everything is online and on target.”
He also pointed out that 520 out of the 547 workers employed on the highway are local employees while 52 percent of the work had also been given to local contractors. Regarding Tuesday’s protest demonstration by local crab catchers, Rambachan said only a small section of the mangrove was being affected and that all the catchers have to do is venture a bit deeper into the mangrove to catch their crabs.