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Suruj hails PURE

By Janelle De Souza Monday, June 30 2014

The Ministry of Works and Infrastructure yesterday officially opened the D’Abadie Bridge (B1/23), known locally as the Garden River Bridge, after six months of hard work and $19.7 million spent.

During his feature address at the opening ceremony on the Eastern Main Road, Garden Village, D’Abadie, Minister of Works and Infrastructure Dr Surujrattan Rambachan noted work on the bridge started in January and was completed in time to open yesterday.

Rambachan told villagers and parliamentary officials that Government began an assessment of the conditions of local bridges across the country in 2012. It was found that 98 bridges needed to be fully reconstructed as they could have collapsed at any time due to major structural deterioration.

He stated 62 bridges were chosen to receive immediate attention and, at the moment, 11 were being reconstructed.

These include bridges on the Eastern Main Road in St Joseph, the Talparo Main Road, two on the Toco Main Road, and the Mayaro/Guayaguayare Road bridge.

“All these are being constructed and progressing within time and thus far within budget,” he said proudly, adding that he hoped to have 35 completed bridges by the end of next year.

Rambachan praised the Programme for Upgrading Roads Efficiency (PURE) Unit, saying that it saved the Government approximately $250 million since 2010 by drawing up all the designs internally instead of hiring consultants and designers.

“If you take this with a bridge at an average of $12 million, this means that because of the savings that they have made, we can build 20 more bridges at an average cost of $12 million in Trinidad,” he said. He admitted that cost overruns had been a recurring factor in various projects over the years, but it had been much less so recently. “One of the things I can stand and proudly say here today is that 90 percent of the work being done by PURE at the Ministry of Works are on time and within budget,” he said.

He attributed the change, not only to the Ministry and PURE, but to the contractors who he said, often came up with ideas that “improve the value engineering” on jobs, thus allowing the Ministry to save money.

In addition, Rambachan said the construction of a bridge on the Churchill Roosevelt Highway in Trincity was scheduled to be completed in August. He stated that the work was just the first phase of a four-lane highway from the Caroni Bridge to Washington Junction in Caroni to Trincity on to Piarco. He also noted that the Diego Martin Highway project should be completed by the end of July, and the Valencia Bypass Road would be opened at the end of September.

Among those present were Arouca/Maloney MP Alicia Hosepdales, in whose constituency the bridge falls, Lopinot/Bon Air MP Dr Lincoln Douglas and La Horquetta/Talparo MP Jairam Seemungal.

Speaking to reporters after the ceremony, Rambachan addressed the issue of the refurbishment of the Chaguanas Market.

On Thursday last during the post-Cabinet news briefing at the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), St Clair, Local Government Minister Marlene Coudray announced that Cabinet had agreed to allocate $20 million to upgrade the Chaguanas Market.

Rambachan said the market was last upgraded 14 years ago and so major refurbishment was necessary. He believed this was especially the case because of the number of new housing developments in the area.

“I don’t think the market will ever be truly removed in the sense of complete removal. In every town in every part of the world you do have a market, but I think we do need a bigger market on the whole,” he said.

Instead, he said, a large, integrated market would have to be built, which would be an additional resource.

“You see, you must never take away from the quaintness of a town, and that town was built around the market. The market will have to be retained in one form or the other in the town centre itself otherwise we will destroy the traditions of the town,” he concluded.

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