Last update: 06-Dec-2013 9:53 pm
Friday, December 06, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Highway work not to blame for flooding, it’s an annual thing
A marked increase in tidal water caused the flooding along Mosquito Creek on Sunday, and not the construction work on the San Fernando to Point Fortin Highway project. So said Director of Highways Division at Ministry of Works and Infrastructure Roger Ganesh yesterday as he declared that flooding along South Trunk Road, La Romaine is “nothing new.” Ganesh, speaking with the T&T Guardian in a brief telephone interview yesterday, said the flooding which left hundreds of drivers marooned in their cars for hours, is an “annual thing.” He explained that Sunday’s flood was not caused by the highway construction but the rising tides. “When you look at tidal effects on tidal areas, the rising tides and rising flood waters is one effect of it. “But the flooding there has nothing to do with the construction (of the highway). The flooding is isolated. We are taking care of it,” he said.
Up to late Sunday night drivers had to drive through flood waters after the Godineau river burst its banks and flooded the main road and nearby highway construction site. Ganesh said the highways division will be addressing the flooding as part of the San Fernando to Point Fortin highway project. “In the long term, what we will be doing there to stop the flood on the roadway will be the building of a proper retention wall or a reductment wall and placing an energy dissipator along the coastline, so that the energy of the waves is broken up before actually reaching the wall,” he said. He said the dissipator would reduce the sea water splashing onto the retaining wall and onto the roadway. Ganesh explained that the flooding along the creek is the result of a combination of factors, including global environmental factors. He said ocean tides are increasing worldwide and T&T is not immune to rising tides. “What is important to appreciate is, rising tidal waters is not only specific to Trinidad. It is taking place all over the world. Unfortunately this part of Trinidad is being affected, the southeast and southwest coast have encroachment on the coast,” he said.
He said the Ministry of Works has established a coastal unit to address coastal encroachment and erosion which will deal with the problem in the short, medium and long term. “It will be costly, of course, but it will have to be done to protect the property of the island itself,” he said. He assured that the flood would not delay construction on the highway project. “It has not affected construction significantly or delayed construction significantly. We are putting measures in place so it does not happen again. We have a lot of slush to deal with and in that particular area we have to improve the drainage so that we do not have flooding,” he added. Ganesh said at present OAS, the Brazilian firm contracted to build the Solomon Hochoy Highway extension to Point Fortin, is clearing the area and constructing the bridge, which forms part of the highway project. He added, “We are doing the roadway itself (as well) and after that the protection of the coastline. It is all done in stages. We cannot do it all at one time. We have to look at the traffic and all those issues.”
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