Business groups hope for solution to highway slippage

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Works Minister Rohan Sinanan inspects the site of land slippage along the Solomon Hochoy Highway near the Macaulay overpass in Claxton Bay. – Photo by Lincoln Holder

THE Confederation of Regional Business Chambers (CRBC) and the Greater San Fernando Chamber of Commerce expressed hope on January 15 that the Works and Transport Ministry will find a solution to the land slippage along the Solomon Hochoy Highway, near the Macaulay overpass.

In a statement, the CRBC said, “The land slippage has been a very consistent problem over the last months, possibly couple of years and this has been a critical safety issue.”

The group was happy that repair work has started on the site.

But the CRBC said these works “have been having an effect on motorists by way of heavy traffic jams, loss of time, and causing deep frustrations.”

The group urged the ministry to move with more haste to complete this very important work in less time.

In a WhatsApp comment, Greater San Fernando Chamber of Commerce head Kiran Singh said, “This part of the highway has had structural integrity issues for some time now and consequently it has been slowly impeding the traffic flow over the years.

“The recent collapse which resulted in one lane of traffic on the southbound lane caused severe congestion all the way north of Chaguanas.”

Singh said temporary repair work being done was not sustainable and a permanent solution is needed.

“Countless work hours have been lost, with potentially diminished earnings capability and this will continue until the third lane for Macaulay is constructed.

“There is no compensation for lost business activity, vehicular damage and lack of rest which are unseen costs to any business.”

Singh was heartened by Works and Transport Minister Rohan Sinanan’s comment about a third lane being constructed from Chaguanas to San Fernando as part of a permanent solution to the land slippage.

He described this as economically sound management.

Singh hoped the necessary roadworks would take place at night to minimise inconvenience to drivers and commuters.

On Sunday, Sinanan said the slippage started in 2014 and a retaining wall was built to stop it. But the earth movement under the highway continued last year, causing more land slippage.

Sinanan said temporary measures are being put in place to allow two lanes of traffic to flow freely on the southbound lane of the highway. He expected these measures would be completed within two days.

He estimated the cost of these temporary works at approximately $2.5 million.

Sinanan added that the consultant Beston is doing the designs for the permanent solution to the land slippage.