Government is moving to fast track construction of three interchanges in east Trinidad to help further alleviate traffic woes faced daily by motorists.
Plans are afoot to build interchanges at Trincity, Piarco/Golden Grove and Macoya by 2022.
News of the interchanges came from Works and Transport Minister Rohan Sinanan four days after Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley opened the $221 million Curepe Interchange.
Sinanan told Guardian Media that the Curepe Interchange was supposed to be built by the then People’s Partnership government between 2010 and 2012, while Macoya Interchange was expected to start shortly after.
Sinanan said this never happened because of wrangings between two UNC ministers over which contractor should have been awarded the million dollar contract for the Curepe Interchange.
This resulted in the project being delayed by several years.
“It also caused construction on the other interchanges in the East to be put on hold.”
Upon assuming office in 2015, Sinanan said the PNM-led Government re-tendered the Curepe Interchange project in 2017 and it was delivered earlier this year.
Now, he said the Government was eyeing construction of three new interchanges.
In September, Sinanan said a tender will be awarded “for the design build” of the Macoya Interchange and they will fast track construction of the Trincity and Golden Grove/Piarco Interchanges which should be completed by the end of 2022.
He said the contract for Macoya will be awarded by the end of this year with work to begin in January 2021.
“It could be done if politicians do not interfere with the process. We will do it the right way using the template from the Curepe Interchange. We anticipate that by 2022 we should be able to drive from Port-of-Spain to at least Piarco International Airport without any interruptions on the road network.”
Construction of the Macoya Interchange will see the removal of the UWI, Pasea and Macoya traffic lights to ensure a smooth flow of vehicles.
Sinanan said it was the Government’s policy to remove all traffic lights from Port-of-Spain to Sangre Grande.
He said, “The last major intersection we have is Tumpuna Road in Arima. From Tumpuna we have the Cumuto to Sangre Grande Highway which was designed with no lights. So it would be smooth sailing.”
So far, the ministry has put out a tender for a consultant to undertake a traffic study and to come up with conceptual designs for the interchanges.
Asked if the three interchanges will be built at the same time, Sinanan said he was awaiting feedback from the traffic study to determine if it would be feasible to do.
“We want to fast track building the interchanges and have them done by 2022.”
He said the interchanges will be built on green fields sites and would cost far less than the Curepe Interchange.
“So we do not anticipate any land acquisition or dislocation of homeowners and businesses. What we have done in Curepe is set the benchmark for pricing of these interchanges.”
Sinanan said funding for the new road network will be secured by the Ministry of Finance.
“The Government has identified the construction sector as a major sector to stimulate the economy.”