The Curepe interchange, currently being constructed on the Churchill Roosevelt Highway, will be in use by driver at the end of February.
So said Minister of Works and Transport, Rohan Sinanan, on Sunday morning as he witnessed 12 massive steel girders being installed at the base of the interchange.
Alvaro Ledo Nass
“Today is really a milestone for us because on February 20 last year, the Prime Minister turned the sod for this interchange,” Sinanan said. “And here we are, less than a year later, we are launching the beams for the bridge. We anticipate that we should have full use of the bridge by the end of February, which is just about a year since the sod was turned.”
He said the actual handover of the interchange will be done in March. Sinanan said two ancillary roads were also built to provide access to the interchange, and the project is still on schedule and is “well within the budget” of $221 million
Engineers used heavy machinery to lift and place the 12 girders on the gap between the two ramps on either side of the highway, but before that engineer from the China Railway Construction Corporation (CRCC) celebrated the milestone by setting off strings of firecrackers
Newsday was told that six beams were placed over the westbound lane of the highway during the morning period on Sunday and in the afternoon, the other six beams were placed at the eastbound lane. The section of the Churchill Roosevelt Highway in Curepe was closed to vehicular traffic on Sunday to facilitate the installation
The highway was expected to be reopened today at 4 am, in time for the start of the new school term. Sinanan said if all goes well, this could be one of the better managed projects in TT’s history, despite challenges with procurement of land for construction of the interchange
“This is expected to take a year and one month. That has to go down into the archives as the fastest interchange ever built in TT,” Sinanan said. He noted that other interchanges, like the one at Grand Bazaar, were opened in phases over a number of years
Sinanan added that the Curepe Interchange project would be one of many planned for the Churchill Roosevelt highway, with the ultimate goal of removing all traffic lights on this highway from Sangre Grande to Port of Spain
Sinanan said a tender was put out for companies to be selected for primary designs for two more interchanges, one at Macoya and another in Piarco. Consultants are expected to advise them on the best locations for the next interchanges and his ministry is expected to go before Cabinet with the results of the tender and a contract for designs of the next interchange is expected to be awarded in the coming months
“We will continue to build interchanges as we go along. We can’t build all at the same time but the idea is as one is completed, the other should be far more advanced in terms of starting the construction.”
“Eventually we would reach the point where you could drive from PoS to Grande without any traffic lights interfering. The pace this project was completed we should have all the interchanges completed in the next three to four years,” Sinanan said.