The Minister of Works and Infrastructure, the Honourtable Dr Surujrattan Rambachan, has opened the D’Abadie Bridge (B1/23), better known to villagers and motorists as the Garden River Bridge. The project was completed in six months with a state investment of $19.7 million.
The bridge provides a major link between Arima and Arouca on the Eastern Main Road, which is one of the busiest roadways in the country. The new bridge replaced a derelict one that was built in the 1900s.
In his feature address at the opening ceremony on June 29, Dr Rambachan told the people of Garden Village his ministry began assessing the condition of local bridges across the country in 2012. He saiid that survey revealed that 98 bridges were at risk of collapsing and needed to be rebuilt urgently.
Dr. Rambachan explained that of that number his ministry decided to give priority to 62 of the bridges, 11 of which are currently under construction. These include bridges on the Eastern Main Road in St Joseph, on the Talparo Main Road, two on the Toco Main Road, and the Mayaro/Guayaguayare Road bridge.
The minister said all the projects are progressing on schedule and within approved budgets. He noted that the ministry has been using its in-house resources for design and other preparatory work instead of hiring expensive consultants. That strategy, he said, has saved the government about $250 million since 2010.
“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.
Dr Rambachan gave credit to the ministry’s Programme for Upgrading Roads Efficiency (PURE) Unit. “One of the things I can stand and proudly say here today is that 90 per cent of the work being done by PURE at the Ministry of Works are on time and within budget,” he said.
He also commended contrators, stating that they often present money-saving ideas that improve the value engineering on jobs.
The minister also spoke about some other infrastructure projects that are in varying degrees of completeion. He said he expects the bridge on the Churchill Roosevelt Highway in Trincity to be completed in August.. He also said the Diego Martin Highway project would be completed by the end of July, and added that by the end of September the ministry expcts to open the Valencia Bypass Road.
The Ministry of Works and Infrastructure has been working overtime to repair the country’s infrastructure, which was crumbling when the new government took office in 2010. It is also engaged in new projects including the $7.5 billion highway from Goloconda to Point Fortin.
Some of the projects completed by the ministry include:
- Aranguez Overpass
- St. Helena Delta Bridge connecting Kelly Village to Piarco
- Churchill-Roosevelt Highway Extension
- Third Lane to Uriah Butler Highway
- Couva/Preysal Interchange
- Rehabilitation of Tarouba Link Road
- Solomon Hochoy Highway Extension from Golconda to Debe
- Churchill Roosevelt Highway/Uriah Butler Highway Interchange