Diego Highway to be extended
By DARCEL CHOY Friday, July 20 2012
Government will construct an extension of the Diego Martin Highway as well as a vehicular overpass at the cost of an estimated $91 million.
This was revealed yesterday by Works and Infrastructure Minister, Emmanuel George, at the post-Cabinet press briefing at the Office of the Prime Minister in St Clair.
He said the extension would begin from the Wendy Fitzwilliam Boulevard to the Diego Martin Main Road and the overpass would cross the highway in the vicinity of Powder Magazine. “We expect the highway extension would cost in the vicinity of $49 million; construction of the overpass would cost an estimated $42 million,” he said.
He said the objective of these works is to solve the existing traffic congestion in the area and to improve accessibility between Diego Martin and Carenage, Glencoe and other areas.
He noted there were two “fairly dangerous turns” that motorists make at the Powder Magazine area and the overpass would seek to address that danger, as well as improve the highway infrastructure in the area, and the safety of motorists, who use those facilities. Construction will begin next year and George said one aspect of it will take two years while the other three years.
When asked if the extension would mean the relocation of residents and businesses, George said they have not taken a detailed look at the exact route, as it was still being considered.
“We know we are going to be going along the banks of the Diego Martin river; we expect we are going to find lands that people own there, and we would have to do some negotiating with them in order to acquire those properties,” he said.
George added that pro-active measures, in a humane manner, would be taken to deal with persons who may have to be relocated.
“To deal with the compensation issues and the relocation issues using whatever skills available to us, whether it be the skills of psychologists to talk to people regarding their relocation,” he said.
When asked if the Government has learned anything from the Highway Re-Route movement who have protested against the construction of the highway to Point Fortin through parts of Debe to Mon Desir, to ensure it does not happen in Diego Martin, George said, “you cannot cater for people who would simply resist until the end.” He explained when the Solomon Hochoy Highway was being constructed a group of persons stopped the construction.
“It had to be constructed around them, and for years they had to make a detour before resuming the highway, those people eventually moved and the highway was straightened. The country is accustomed to this kind of thing, the country usually finds solutions over time,” he said.
He later added that the history of building highways in the country was when the existing roads that were used, became too small.