Remedial work in Diego Martin, Glencoe and Maraval is going to cost $95 million. And the region is still under threat of further flooding and loss of property and life if a deluge similar to that of July 11 takes place again.
Speaking at yesterday's post-Cabinet news conference, Works Minister Emmanuel George said Cabinet approved $49.4 million to pay contractors for (emergency) work already done. But he said a further $45.5 million was required to complete additional works.
He said, "These works involve the clearing of drains and water courses in the area. A lot of the hills came down in the form of mud, slush, boulders and debris and clogged most of the water ways in the area.
"So after that first effort at clearing out people's homes to help them re-establish some semblance of normalcy in their lives, cleaning the streets, we now have to clean the drains which are all clogged and if left alone and we have a repeat or an event even close to the amount of rainfall we had on that day ... we are in for another serious destruction of infrastructure as well as people's lives."
George said he wanted residents of the West to know that the ministry had to find money to address the additional work that needs to take place.
"So I crave the patience, understanding and indulgence of the people affected who are fearful that the drains not having been cleaned are at risk if there is another weather event," he said.
"I want to give them the assurance that we are working behind the scenes but Government processes have to be followed through. We have to make the case to the Ministry of Finance for the funding to be provided to us. Once that funding comes, and we expect that to come in the budget, we would have the wherewithal to contract people to do the cleaning (of the drains)."
The minister added that he hoped this information would bring comfort to those concerned people who felt they were not seeing enough being done.
On the sinkhole on the Beetham Highway at Sea Lots, George said it was caused by a collapsed culvert.
"The culvert that runs under the Beetham Highway, taking water from Port of Spain through PTSC compound across the Beetham Highway and depositing it into the sea, that has collapsed and the road on top of it simply collapsed."
He said this happened on the westbound lane (on Wednesday), but could easily have happened on the eastbound lane.
"So we have to look at the eastbound lane very closely."
He said the ministry's engineers may have to use remote control cameras to examine this lane. He said recent work done by the Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) was in no way responsible for the collapse of the highway.
George also disclosed that the Traffic Management Branch had an improvement programme (2012-2015) and was seeking funding from this year.
These works involve the provision of back-up power at 50 signalised intersections (at an estimated cost of $4 million); the installation of zebra crossings and other street furniture at 80 sites (estimated to cost $1.6 million); installation of the new jersey-type barrier system on Churchill-Roosevelt Highway between Macoya and O'Meara and also along San Fernando Bypass (estimated to cost $21 million).
The programme would also include the installation of cable barriers along Uriah Butler and Solomon Hochoy Highways. The cable barriers should cost about $18 million.