Minister of Works and Transport Rohan Sinanan has described the construction of the Diego Martin overpass as a "free" project for the country. This is because money from the $190 million project was taken from the $275 million saved from the recently constructed Curepe interchange.
The construction of the Diego Martin overpass will begin this month starting with the designs and upgraded drainage works. The four-lane overpass is expected to be completed by December next year.
At the commissioning ceremony for the Curepe interchange, two weeks ago, Sinanan said the original budget was $500 million. The final cost for the interchange was $221 million.
He said, by the end of September, tenders will go out for the construction of two more interchanges heading west. A down payment for those interchanges will also come from the savings in the Curepe interchange project.
“When you have a savings like that the small man benefit because he’s getting a lot more.”
Sinanan said he is also planning to take a proposal before Cabinet to use the water taxis along the west during the weekends. He also spoke of plans to convert the road to the Chaguaramas Peninsula into three-lanes to ease traffic build-up.
He was speaking at a sod-turning ceremony for the Diego Martin Overpass and the Diego Martin Administrative Complex on Thursday afternoon. The West Park Savannah was also commissioned at the event.
The Prime Minister, in his address, said elevating the status of the corporation to a borough would be first on his agenda if the PNM was re-elected.
Dr Rowley, the MP for Diego Martin West, said the Chaconia Crescent development, Victoria Keys Towers and the backfilling near MovieTowne for future development were already major developments in TT, all happening in the west.
Soon, he said, there will be more important developmental projects coming out of the area including the new Four Roads Community Centre and the Diego Martin Health Centre.
Rowley said the overpass project was the key to solving the area’s daily traffic congestion, improving traffic flow at the intersection and reducing flooding.
The Diego Martin Corporation will be moved into the administrative complex when it is completed. First Citizen Bank will also be allowed to lease half of the building for 20 years, with the option to renew for ten more years.
The complex is expected to be completed in February 2021.
Rowley said, “All of this development in this part tells us that Diego Martin is ready for borough status. And that readiness has been demonstrated by the corporation which has advised and, by resolution, agreed, and have requested of the government that Diego Martin is ready to be known and to function as a borough.”
Rowley said he had lost some friends over the West Park project as many people were trying to get the land for private development. But Rowley said the government saw the best use of the land for the benefit residents and he was happy with the decisions.
"I will make new friends at West Park."
The road leading to the savannah and complex will be named after PNM stalwart and former Diego Martin Central MP Kenneth "Ken" Valley. Valley died in 2011.
Herbert George, National Infrastructure Development Company Ltd (NIDCO) chairman said the projects will be delivered “on time, on budget and without excuse.”