A Brazilian construction firm, Construtora OAS, has been awarded the multi-billion dollar construction contract for the San Fernando to Point Fortin highway. The project is estimated to cost $7.2 billion, $2 billion more than the original cost. Works and Transport Minister Jack Warner made the announcement yesterday at the T&T Chamber of Industry and Commerce’s first quarterly luncheon for 2011 at its office in Westmoorings. The sod-turning for the construction will take place today at 3 pm.
“We have engaged the services of a Brazilian international firm called Construtora OAS for the construction of the Solomon Hochoy highway project,” Warner said. “They will be bringing much expertise,” he added. Warner noted that the Brazilian firm was awarded the contact on the premise that they employed no less than 40 per cent local labour. He said: “Within the agreement we have stated that the contractor must use a minimum of 40 per cent local labour.
“This is to ensure that local contractors benefit from this project.” He said the project would be done in four phases over four years. In trying to justify the extra $2 billion cost on the project, Warner explained it was not due to cost overruns but the result of acquisition costs and fees. He said the original price of $5.2 billion was just the construction cost and the total cost of the project would be $7.2 billion.
“This is no way more expensive than the other highways constructed before,” Warner pointed out. In an effort to create new infrastructure, Warner admitted that the project would affect several communities and businesses. He said more than 400 families will have to be relocated at a cost of $1 billion. “The Government would need to acquire just over 400 to about 500 properties at a tremendous cost, close to $1 billion,” Warner said.
However, he assured that all affected would be adequately compensated and the ministry would seek to minimise the disruption and disturbances as much as possible. While this may cause some major disruptions and inconvenience to some, Warner said that new development would benefit many more as the project would generate thousands of jobs. He added that there would be jobs available in all fields.
Warner said that was one of the many projects he promised that would be brought to fruition during his tenure as Works and Transport Minister.
About Construtora OAS
Brazilian privately held heavy and civil construction firm which serves both public and private clients, offering a range of services, such as engineering, planning, execution, works management and concessions, for the power, sanitation, transportation, and infrastructure industries. It has developed projects in numerous Latin American countries, including Costa Rica, Panama, Honduras, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Uruguay and Venezuela.
Address: Avenida Angélica # 2346, Consolação,São Paulo