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Cedros residents bracing for floods
Works Minister Rohan Sinanan says a contractor has already been paid to restart and complete work on the Cedros Bridge and the floodgates before the rainy season but councillor for Cedros Shankar Teelucksingh says "not one black cent" was paid by government.
As such the project which is 90 per cent completed remains at a standstill.
During an interview with Sinanan during a de-silting exercise in Penal this week, Sinanan was asked when the $4.5 million owed to the contractor will be paid and when the Cedros Bridge will be completed.
He responded, "We are working with the contractor. There was a delay in his payments. My information is that the contractor has gotten some releases and he will complete the job shortly."
However, Teelucksingh urged Sinanan to ensure that the project is finished by next month else dozens of residents will be trapped by floods.
"Since January there, no work on the bridge and we are calling on the Minister to open the bridge. The work had stopped in 2015 and a new contractor was appointed. The work started and then stopped again. How long must people suffer?" Teelucksingh said.
Saying the bridge and flood gates must be completed before the onslaught of the rains, Teelucksingh said if this project was not completed, dozens of residents will experience extensive flooding like what occurred last year.
He said because Cedros and Icacos are under sea level, the sea encroaches into the land causing days of flooding.
Last year residents could not get into their homes and two pensioners were marooned. A boat had to be used to get them out to seek medical treatment.
Saying the bridge and floodgate was also impacting on national security, Teelucksingh said response time to crimes were delayed because of the detour to get to the other side of the bridge.
"The bridge has to extend on both end with a baffle wall to stop the main flow of sea water coming inland. The last time the flood took days to leave. The main drain needs to be de-silted via a gulley sucker, a piece of equipment similar to a vacuum truck. That drain has not been cleaned since 2015 so if this project is held up, there will be disaster in Cedros when the rains come," Teelucksingh added.
Sinanan in an interview assured that the project will be completed soon. He said he expected six bridges to be handed over to government within the next six week, one of which is Cedros.
He noted that a $35 million de-silting exercise was in progress and engineers from the four Drainage departments had already assessed the most important areas.
"We are targeting all projects and looking at critical areas first. We have 298 projects to complete which are evenly spread across Trinidad. We are looking at replacing and repairing pumps and flood gates. All projects will be started and we will have a significant amount completed before the rainy season," Sinanan said.
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