Tuesday 17 September, 2019

PM: Valencia-Toco Highway will bring access to East Trinidad

Photo courtesy the Ministry of Works and Transport.

Photo courtesy the Ministry of Works and Transport.

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley said the planned Sangre Grande-Toco highway will bring much-needed development to East Trinidad

Speaking at a sod-turning ceremony for the project on Wednesday, Dr Rowley said the area did not develop as much as the rest of Trinidad because of limited access to the area.

 

The project, which borders the protected Aripo Savannas, will connect the Sangre Grande region to Toco and Manzanilla at an estimated cost of $196 million.

The Valencia-to-Toco Road Upgrade projects runs along Valencia Main Road from Valencia Junction to Toco Main Road, spanning a total of 12.4 km of roadway.

The highway, which starts at the Valencia intersection and ends at Toco Main Road, is supposed to reduce commuters’ travelling time from 90 to 40 minutes.

The Programme for Upgrading Roads Efficiency (PURE) Unit of the Ministry will be spearheading the project. The scope of works for the Upgrade of Valencia Main Road will be undertaken in two phases, namely:

- Phase I: 0 to 6km

- Phase II: 6 to12km

The Aripo Savanna, an Environmentally Sensitive Area (ESA), is the largest remaining natural savanna ecosystem, which contains animals and plants native to Trinidad and Tobago, including the Sundew plant, Savanna Hawk, Ocelot and some endemic species.

Protected status was issued in order to provide control of the watershed of the area, protecting water quality and quantity within the Long Forest Stretch Reserve and control of the Aripo River, as well as protecting the area from forest fires.

Under the Environmental Management Act, ESA designation by law prohibits any action that will “alter or upset the integrity of the natural functioning of the ecosystems of the ESA or cause undue distress to the plant or animal communities of the ESA”.

Activities prohibited in an ESA include “any dumping, littering or polluting, including the discharging or deposition of any refuse, oily liquids, waste acids, deleterious chemicals or any toxic polluting substances of any kind injurious to plants, animals or fish in the area”.

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