Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 1st 2015 Contents A15
March 1, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
119 foreign workers had been
"In other words, 93 per cent
consist of local labourers, while
seven per cent are foreigners. We
are using a high per cent of pro-
fessionals and skilled workers from
Trinidad, contrary to what people
Despite facing some uphill challenges,
Rambachan said, work was progressing
"on time and within budget."
By the end of 2015, he expects the
project to be near completion.
Rambachan said the South Trunk
Road, which floods during high tide
and the rainy season because of its
close proximity to the Gulf of Paria,
would be repaved to increase its height.
Loads of grey boulders imported
from Dominica, St Vincent and St Lucia
by OAS have already been placed on
the coastline to contain the waves.
Also, the protective wall between the
seafront and roadway would be raised,
Recently, Rambachan said, a contract
was awarded to Danny Enterprises to
stabilise the M2 Ring Road in La
Romaine in the coming weeks.
OAS paid $2.97 billion
To date, he said, the Government
had pumped $3.9 billion into the high-
way since work began in October 2013.
Rambachan said the remaining $3.6
billion would be spent over the coming
"So far, we have [paid] to OAS for
the design and construction expenses
$2.97 billion, which includes an advance
of $1.08 billion. So effectively, taking
into consideration the advance, OAS
is in line with the percentage of work
completed. The total spent on the high-
way so far was $3.9 billion, which is
well in line when you take off the
advance payment for the per cent of
work completed on the highway," Ram-
He said the biggest challenges OAS
encountered since undertaking the proj-
ect were the fire bombing of one of its
cranes in Guapo last December, work
being delayed by heavy showers, and
protesters crippling the construction
of the highway last year by shutting
down 12 construction zones stretching
from Point Fortin to Mon Desir.
Rambachan: Eyes are on you
They also had to contend with head
of the Highway Re-Route Movement
(HRM) and hunger striker Dr Wayne
Kublalsingh who has been protesting
the social and environmental impact
of the Debe to Mon Desir route.
Another constraint was sourcing
bitumen and aggregate for the road-
Rambachan described the project as
stressful "as everybody s eyes are on
you. Everybody has great expectations.
It s a complex job. In addition to con-
structing the highway, there are struc-
tures to be built."
In the past 18 months, Rambachan
said, his ministry had to acquire lands
on 420 properties which stood in the
direct route of the highway.
Of the 420 properties, Rambachan
said, 389 landowners had been com-
pensated and relocated.
Cheques for the remaining 31
cheques are still being processed.
Rambachan said of the 420 prop-
erties, 172 were legitimately owned; 86
were tenanted by Caroni 1975 Ltd; and
131 were squatters.
$434 million in land acquisition
So far, he said, the Government had
paid $434 million "in land acquisition."
Squatters who resided in Golconda,
Dumfries, Ghandi Village, Guapo and
St Mary s were relocated to lots in Pic-
ton Village in the South, and each com-
"In some instances, families whose
lands were acquired were given six
months rental by the State," Ram-
Tabulating the relocation cost, Ram-
bachan put the figure at $30 million.
Giving a breakdown of the figures,
Rambachan said the bulk of the $7.5
billion would be spent on the highway s
"The overall cost of the project is
$7.502 billion. However, the cost of
construction alone is $5.2 billion," Ram-
The remaining $2.3 billion will be
spent on land acquisition, construction
contingencies and construction over-
He said while he respected Kublals-
ingh s views about the highway, one
had to look at the "national good. We
want at all cost to protect the envi-
He said while the HRM was against
the highway, many people were in sup-
port of it.
Rambachan: Highway project stressful
...everybody's eyes are on you
Continued from Page A7
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