The design for the Turpin Bend realignment project is complete and the island is one step closer to making that iconic Charlotteville bend safer for drivers, passengers and pedestrians.
Over the years, the bend—a double U-turn with a steep decline—descending into the village of Charlotteville has been a cause of concern for many drivers, particularly those with larger vehicles.
Senior technical coordinator at the THA Division of Infrastructure, Quarries and the Environment Abdallah Chadband recalled that in 2019, the Urban Development Company of TT (Udecott) was approached to do procure management as well as project management for the division.
“Udecott on our behalf, would have set out to give us options. We didn’t just tell them come with one design for us, we told them to give us options – in the first instance three. We looked at it and we told them that there was a potential for a fourth option, so they would have come up with four design options.”
He said in January 2020, the options were presented to the public as there was a stakeholder meeting.
“We did present the options and we did let them know which one we were leaning to, and there was almost unanimous buy-in which was the widening – not necessarily going straight or cable bridge – of the bend whilst also maintaining the iconic curves that the bend presented at the time.”
Chadband said the tenders have since closed and the division is awaiting the evaluation reports. He said once a contract is awarded, the project is estimated to be completed in 16 – 18 months.
In 2019, Secretary for Infrastructure, Quarries and Environment Kwesi DesVignes said the Executive Council of the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) approved remedial works on the bend.
He said Udecott would be the 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 met with representatives of the Public Transport Service Corporation (PTSC), a major stakeholder which has been clamouring for the bend to be made safer for buses.
In 2015, nine people were injured after a 12-seater minibus in which they were travelling careened off the road and ended up perched on a precipice.
In 2012, the bend was the site of another accident as 23 people—17 soldiers, two sailors, and four civilians—were injured, as their driver lost control while trying to navigate the bend.
And in 2010 Charmaine Fontaine, her daughter Rhesa, and a male passenger died, while an 18-month-old baby was critically injured when the driver ran off the road.