The Environmental Management Authority (EMA) has launched an investigation into the partial collapse of the South Trunk Road which cost taxpayers $280 million.
EMA’s managing director Hayden Romano confirmed to Guardian Media on Monday during a brief telephone interview that the authority is currently probing the matter, following which a report will be submitted to the authority later this week.
Romano said from the day the project started the EMA has been monitoring its work on a monthly basis.
“As far as I am aware, there has not been any breaches of an environmental requirement. However, we are going to be looking at the CEC (Certificate of Environmental Clearance) in detail. We will do our investigation.”
The investigation, he said, was ongoing.
“I am hoping that it will be completed before the end of the week. As far as I know, we would have been on-site already for the (this) month.”
Romano said throughout the project the EMA would have monitored the situation via a particular department.
“We had a particular department that monitored the project and we have not had any indication that there had been any environmental breaches. Remember the EMA is concerned with the environment.”
Asked if environmental breaches are found, Romano said, the EMA will have “to bring them into compliance.”
Romano identified the Certificate of Environmental Clearance (CEC) number for the project as 2824 of 2010.
A summary of the CEC on the EMA’s website showed the Ministry of Works and Transport applied for the CEC on April 1, 2010 “to upgrade and development of the Southern Main Road, Paria Suites to St Mary’s Junction.”
The CEC was issued to the ministry by the EMA on April 29, 2011.
Romano said the ministry would have submitted several supporting documents to the EMA to obtain the CEC. Among those documents were its designs and scope of works.
“We have to make sure that they are in compliance with what they said they were going to do.”
Last weekend, cracks formed along the roadway.
As the days passed it got worse, resulting in an expanse of 180 metres of the paved roadway collapsing into the sea along with parts of the revetment seawall.
At a press conference on Sunday, the United National Congress called on the EMA to intervene and investigate whether the Ministry of Works and Transport and the National Infrastructure Development Company abided by the recommendations outlined in the CEC that was granted for the construction of the roadworks at Mosquito Creek.
The Association of Professional Engineers of T&T also asked the ministry to do a thorough investigation into the partial collapse at the La Romaine site which is under construction as part of the Solomon Hochoy Highway to Point Fortin.
An article in yesterday’s Trinidad Guardian quoted Works and Transport Minister Rohan Sinanan as saying that a report on the collapsed roadway is due this week.
Works are ongoing on the site.
Jusamco Pavers, also known as Junior Sammy Contractors, won the contract to upgrade 2.4 kilometres of the northbound and southbound carriageway with a revised final bid of $280, 976, 489.08 VAT inclusive.
Once the report reaches the EMA, Romano assured the media will be informed of its findings.
“The media was the one who alerted us to the concerns and we respect everybody’s concerns.”
Romano said the EMA will not shun its responsibilities.