Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 21st 2017 Contents news A5
Monday, August 21, 2017 guardian.co.tt
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for AUGUST 18, 2017
Highway to Toco
Chairman of National Infra-
structure Development Compa-
ny (Nidco) Herbert George has
estimated the new highway from
Sangre Grande to Toco is expected
to cost taxpayers between $2 and
The highway, he said, is expected to
significantly reduce the driving time
of motorists in getting to the proposed
Toco ferry port.
This was the figure George gave
recently, as he gave details about the
billion-dollar project, nine months
after Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley
promised citizens of the north-east-
ern region a new Toco ferry port that
would link them to Tobago and create
Last November, Rowley said the
Government was moving apace to
develop the highways from Valencia
to Toco and Cumuto to Manzanilla,
as well as construct a ferry port in
Toco, which would generate eco-
nomic growth, jobs and opportu-
nities for people who live in nearby
George said while the extension
of the Solomon Hochoy Highway to
Point Fortin was a multi billion-dollar
project, so too would be the highway
leading to the port.
Asked what would be the estimated
cost of this project, George said the
figure was in the tune of billions.
"Not less than $2 billion and not
more than $5 billion. That is what you
are looking at."
George regarded the project as
the second largest for Nidco and the
"We have a local consultant firm
Arun Buch and Associates Ltd doing
the conceptual design. At the end
of the day he would have to look at
the location, prepare a design for
the facility there, bearing in mind
the employer's brief. Butch's work
is expected to take three months to
complete," George said.
He said after consultants presents
their design, Nidco would be provided
with a cost and tenders would then
"Tendering might be another two
to three months."
He said while the Prime Minister
has a keen interest in getting the ferry
port off the ground, George estimated
that by April 2018 the project would
begin with work completing in 18
"Yes, we are working with urgency.
When the idea of the fast ferry port
was spoken about, some work was
done under the last PNM adminis-
tration about eight or nine years ago.
And of course that was just shelved,"
Now that it has being brought back
to the table, George said Nidco has
undertaken some preliminary designs
for a new highway to be built to Toco.
"We did some preliminary designs
for the road which was costing tax-
payers an arm and a leg. So we have to
go back and see how we can tweak it
and make it more affordable."
George refused to say what was the
figure Nidco was presented with.
He said Nidco was now considering
using part of the existing Toco Main
Road, while build a new strip of high-
way, which, when completed, would
be 47 kilometres in length.
"The travel time would be 48 min-
utes (from Arima)," George said.
George said Nidco had also looked
at another option of constructing a
new highway from Sangre Grande
to Toco totalling 42.6 kilometres,
with driving time estimated at 35.3
Currently motorists take approx-
imately 90 minutes to get to Toco
Would communities along the
route be relocated when work gets
"We intend to minimise that. That
has it's own difficulties. We have a
route selected that does not require
He said that once Nidco is issued
with a terms of reference from the En-
vironmental Management Authority
they would hold consultation at a later
"So far, we have held meetings with
two groups of people from the Toco
end. They wanted to know how the
new road will likely affect the existing
He said the residents were par-
ticularly concerned about one en-
vironmentally sensitive area, but its
designers went around this location
in planning the new route.
In giving an insight of the proposed
route, George said work on the high-
way would start north of Ojoe Road
in Sangre Grande.
"So there would be a link from there
to new Valencia to Toco Road. From
there is all the way up to Toco. That
point is also tied back to the Churchill
He said Nidco would also create
access from the Valencia By Pass
roundabout to the Ojoe Road.
"That part would not be of a high-
way quality. It would just be an up-
graded section. So the real highway
will be from Cumuto to Manzanilla
to Ojoe Road. And from there you go
up from Valencia to Toco."
George said the creation of the port
would link Trinidad to Tobago.
"If one has a port there. And one
has better access to get to that port.
First of all it would help ease with the
traffic between Port-of-Spain and
Toco. You can get on a ferry in Toco
so it can cut down the travel time by so
much. Once passengers arrive in Toco
it would take them about 40 minutes
to go from Toco to Tobago in a ferry."
George said once the sea bridge
problems are sorted out it would give
the travelling public other options.
"What we would also be doing is
opening that east/west corridor. Right
now we talk as if the east/west ends
in Sangre Grande. The access from
there is just horrible. It takes people
almost an hour in some cases even
more than that to go from Valencia
to Toco because the road is so narrow
and circuitous," George said.
Search on for missing hiker
Search parties were unsuccess-
ful in their attempts yesterday to
locate hiker Richard Baird who
went missing on Saturday in the
Baird, of Rousillac, a computer
technician at Petrotrin, was last seen
around 2.15 pm.
Baird, a frequent hiker was a first
timer to Aripo and has a knee injury,
his family told the T&T Guardian.
Relatives said they along with
residents of the area and members
of Island Hikers Club began search-
ing around 5 am yesterday for Baird.
The group were on a hike to the Aripo
Around 4 pm, teams from the Fire
Service Search and Rescue and other
arms of the National Security around
4 pm joined the search. The search
was called off around 6 pm and ex-
pected to resume this morning.
In an unrelated incident, a
Chaguanas man who went into the
Blanchisseuse forest on Friday was
found floating in the river near an
area called Three Pools. According to
police, Kimmel Robertson, of Falcon
Avenue, Edinburgh 500, Chaguanas
went into the forest around 4.30 pm
and was found around 4 pm yester-
day.Police said Robertson, 26, was
dressed only in his underwear when
he went into the forest. Police said
his body will be taken to the Foren-
sic Science Centre, St James for an
autopsy to determine the cause of
death. ---Jensen La Vende
Missing hiker Richard Baird
Figero during her
in the 18-35 age
category of the
at City Hall, Knox
on Friday night.
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