Works and Transport Minister Rohan Sinanan yesterday said the construction of the Cunapo bridge should be completed before schools reopen in September.
He also expressed confidence that the Curepe interchange would be completed by the first quarter of 2020 for the latest. He said he was happy with its progress and that it would be completed within budget, and at half the price it was going to be awarded in 2013/2014.
“One of the key factors on that interchange is that there is a continuous flow of traffic. We have had no significant inconveniences and interruptions to the traffic. We are very happy with the progress of the contractors and the sub contractors.”
During a site visit at the new bridge in Sangre Grande, Sinanan told reporters residents were concerned that the completion day may affect the reopening of two nearby schools. “They have just told me they will actually be brining in more crews to ensure we can actually have the roadway utilised maybe by the last week of this month, which should be in time for the opening of school, weather permitting.”
Mahadeo Jagdeo, director of bridges, said the issue of flooding in Sangre Grande was bigger than a bridge, and it was also about the clearing of the Cunapo river. He said four of the five contracts awarded by the Drainage Division to clean the river leading to the Oropouche River and then to the sea were completed and the last contract would be executed shortly.
He said, the span of the existing bridge is 20 metres while the new one is 27 metres. “In addition to that the capacity of the new structure is 43 per cent more than the old structure. So overall we have built a bigger bridge with more capacity to handle the volume of water that is coming down (the Cunapo River).” The new bridge is being built south of the existing structure. Two hundred and twenty-nine (229) metres of new river channels had to be realigned and constructed before the old bridge is demolished, and the existing river channel is backfilled and regraded.
Jagdeo added that the project was initiated in 2014 because the bridge was dilapidated, there were no sidewalks, and it could only accommodate one lane of traffic. He said design consultants presented two options in 2016. The one which was chosen required the watercourse to be diverted and land acquired from two private owners. He said the new location would also reduce localised flooding.