SOON, contractors whose overloaded trucks contribute to the deterioration of the roads will be held accountable for its repair, according to Works and Transport Minister Rohan Sinanan.
Sinanan made the comment at the opening of the Sou Sou Lands, Laventille Road, San Juan on Saturday. In his feature address, Sinanan went off cuff, and said some of the damage on the roads are being caused by overloaded heavy-Ttrucks. At the time of his extemporaneous admonition, Sinanan urged residents to continue in their community support and look out for their road so that overloaded trucks would not damage it.
“Look out for your roads there are huge trucks overloading and contributing to deteriorating the roads and I have a problem with that because the same overloaded trucks are owned by the contractors who are paid to fix the road,” Sinanan said to a chuckle and then applause.
Speaking with the media after the ceremonial opening, Sinanan said he and his executive members will meet with contractors soon to discuss the issue of overweight trucks damaging roads.
“There are certain guidelines when you are given a permit to drive heavy-T vehicles. What you have is drivers use secondary roads to beat the traffic and we have huge trucks utilising these roads we have to rein them in on that.” Sinanan said adding that despite the trucks being able to carry more weight than they are registered for, the law is the law.
He added that some contractors have boasted that the $750 fine for overloading could easily be paid by them. He said he will try to be lenient with the contractors as he does not intend to have a ripple effect that will see construction costs increasing but he “will protect the States infrastructure”. He said some road are not built to withstand the weight and with no local standards, roads are built to international standards so the weight of a vehicle should be adhered to so longevity of the roads will take place.
He highlighted an accident that took place last Wednesday where a truck fell on a car. That accident he said was caused by the truck having higher load than stipulated resulting not only in the accident but damage to a bridge over the Uriah Butler Highway. He described that accident as “total madness”. Sinanan assured that the damage to the bridge is being assessed and when completed the contractor will be billed.
Addressing the Sou Sou Lands road, Sinanan said the project cost $3.2 million and took four months to complete by Kalco Company Ltd. He said since 2005 there were request to have the road refurbished but that was not done. Asked why, he said: “I came in at the end of 2016 I saw it in 2017 and it was finished at the end of 2018. I can’t speak for the time before my tenure at the Ministry, maybe it was not a priority for the previous ministers, I can’t speak for them. This was one of the priority project when we did the tour so it was delivered.”
In his address, he urged that a speed limit of 50 kilometres per hour be adhered to, and that pedestrian be vigilant as well as parents with their children. He told the resident that this year is the year of deliveries and this project was just one of his many deliveries.
In his opening remarks, resident Cogland Griffith said the road, which, if paved, extends to Lady Young Road and can be extended to Duke Street, Port of Spain, will alleviate traffic and provide alternative route. He added that the residents, who named the area after pooling their monies in a Sou Sou (a saving scheme where every member is given money based on the monthly contribution of all its members), were happy with the work. Some residents hoped that the road work will extend into Morvant so the full potential of the road will be utilised.
St Ann’s East MP Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly said the road was long in coming. She said this will open the area up to greater things as mobility in and out of the area is much easier. She added that residents received a “double blessing” to get a road of the quality and length given the country’s financial strains.