Road works along a two-kilometre stretch of the Claude Noel Highway from the Rockly Vale traffic lights to the Orange Hill traffic lights will begin in two weeks with the $30 million VAT-exclusive contract having gone to Seereram Brothers Limited.
So said Secretary of Infrastructure Kwesi DesVignes, speaking at Wednesday’s post Executive Council media briefing at the Division of Tourism in Scarborough. Des Vignes said the works would involve repairs to visible cracks and road failures and “would be
the “most thorough work that is been done on the highway since its original construction.”
The Claude Noel Highway was last resurfaced in 2007.
“It would mean that we would be milling down both the wearing course and the base course and getting down to the foundation of the highway, repairing the foundation where there are notable spots of failure,” said Des Vignes, adding that the public should expect some inconvenience.
“This project is estimated to last between four to four and a half months but we’re hoping to get the contractor down in terms of time and we’re working with the contractors and of course the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service.
“Because the highway is the main artery, we won’t want to block traffic at all or even block it off completely. So, we’re doing works in the nighttime primarily. However, if we want to get faster delivery, it means that some works would have to be done in the daytime and that is where more inconvenience will come into play. This is very necessary work to be done and the more work that is done in the night, the higher the cost of the project …,” he said.
DesVignes also reported that in November 2018, the Executive Council of the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) approved remedial works on the double hairpin bend known as Turpin Bend in Charlotteville.
Des Vignes said the Urban Development Corporation of TT (UDECOTT) would project managers, and the work would be done in two phases - geotechnical studies and designs and then a construction phase - over a two-year period.
He said he has met with representatives of the Public Transport Service Corporation (PTSC), a major stakeholder who has been clamouring for the bend to be made safe for buses.
“Turpin Bend… the double hairpin bend has been a sore point for us here in Tobago and of course for Charlotteville for many years.
“We would have agreed that more training be done for the drivers of the buses. That they standardise the operations at the Turpin Bend so that we avoid instances where buses run into unfortunate circumstances on the Turpin Bend,” said Des Vignes.
Turpin Ben is a double U-turn with a steep decline into Charlotteville.
In 2015, nine people were injured after a 12-seater minibus in which they were passengers careened off the road and ended up perched on the edge of a precipice.
In 2012, 23 persons - 17 soldiers, two sailors and four civilians - were injured as their driver lost control whilst trying to navigate the bend.
In 2010 Charmaine Fontaine, her daughter Rhesa, and a male passenger died, while an 18-month-old baby was critically injured when the driver of the vehicle they were in ran off the road while navigating the bend.