WORKS and Transport Minister Rohan Sinanan said more than $200 million has been saved on the Curepe interchange project. He was speaking on Monday night at the commissioning of the project.
Sinanan said despite the challenges of the Opposition and other naysayers, the project which was originally estimated at more than $421 million, was delivered at $219.5 million. This, he said, was a savings of $1.5 million over the budgeted price of $221 million in accordance with his mandate to deliver value for money.
He said the project also included additional roads, drainage and other minor activities that were not part of the scope.
Sinanan said he is part of a company which has an interest in one of the 34 properties acquired for the project but, despite claims he received $100 million, to date the company placed a claim for less than $20 million and this was being evaluated by the Commissioner of Valuations.
He reported the budget for land acquisition was $150 million, but Government got that figure down to $95 million. He said there were two properties to be completed, one commercial and one residential, but it will fall within the $95 million budget. He thanked the landowners and said he knew it was challenging for them.
Sinanan said a lot of lending agencies gave the project kudos and it will be used as a template for other future projects. He reported the Cabinet also approved $30 million to improve safety and signage over a three-year period, and the Who We Are highway beautification project will see sculptures representing this country’s culture along the highway.
“We will get our highways looking just like first-world countries.”
Sinanan said the project was very dear to his heart and he has “got a lot of licks” over it.
He recalled the project started under the People’s National Movement administration in 2004 and was part of the East-West Corridor traffic-elimination project. He noted, the interchanges were completed at Grand Bazaar and Aranguez, and Curepe was supposed to be the next project but nothing happened from 2010 to 2015, the People’s Partnership period, owing to “wrangling.”
“Today we should have been opening the interchange at Piarco.”
National Infrastructure Development Company (NIDCO) chairman Herbert George said the project had a colourful history with false starts, litigation, protests, material supply challenges and importation delays.
“We are happy to have prevailed.”
He said the vertical clearance is at international standards and there would be no issue for the use of vehicles carrying legitimate loads. In January a large container truck dislocated the temporary overhead gantry that was put up to enforce a temporary height restriction for vehicles, and protect ongoing work on the permanent beam structure further east.
George thanked China Railway Construction (Caribbean) as well as the local companies involved in the project. The interchange features a four-lane overpass and two clover leaf sections. The sod turning took place on February 20 last year and NIDCO said it was completed on time, on budget and was built to the highest international standards.
Credit: Source link