Works Minister Rohan Sinanan says the Solomon Hochoy Highway Extension from Point Fortin to San Fernando is 87 per cent complete.
And he is hoping that by the end of the year most of the highway segments will be open to the public.
In an interview with Guardian Media, Sinanan said 12 packages were awarded to contractors in 2017 but works were delayed not only by COVID-19 but also by inclement weather.
“In 2017, we awarded 12 packages to continue the highway from San Fernando to Point Fortin. To date, five packages have been completed and seven are ongoing. They are about 87 per cent completed.”
He noted that different segments of the highway works are ongoing. “When we started in 2017, work was just about 36 per cent in some areas and 50 per cent in other areas. We have definitely made headway,” Sinanan said.
He added, “At the end of the day, we went through a period of COVID virus which pushed us back. We had to stop work and that gave us major challenges with manpower and equipment but if you put COVID-19 behind us and consider the inclement weather, I would say we did pretty well to bring it from 36 per cent to 87 per cent,” he added.
Sinanan said he remains hopeful that most of the segments will be opened to the public by December.
“We are having challenges with the inclement weather but we are on target to the end of this year to have most of the highway accessible from San Fernando to Point Fortin. There are some areas that National Infrastructure Development Corporation (Nidco) is looking at and will come up with some strategies if those areas are not completed,” Sinanan said.
He noted, “We believe you will be able to drive from San Fernando to Point Fortin by the end of this year.”
Asked how the rest of the highway will be financed, Sinanan said: “The Minister of Finance has the responsibility to source the financing and he has been working with us on it,” Sinanan said.
He noted that he plans to tour some of the areas which have been completed.
The highway was supposed to be completed late last year but setbacks with COVID hampered the completion.