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Residents protest link roads

Fears of more crime, damage to homes in Tarouba

By Nikita Braxton-Benjamin

TAROUBA residents who are against the construction of link roads to the Sir Solomon Hochoy Highway extension being constructed in their community protested outside their homes yesterday morning.

The residents burned debris and said the new roads will make the area unsafe as they will give rise to criminal elements accessing Tarouba.

They complained that the increased vehicular traffic with the coming of the roads could also be dangerous.

Resident Winston Gobin said while they were not against the project of fixing the road leading to the Solomon Hochoy Highway and also into San Fernando, or the drainage work, they disagreed with the heavy flow of traffic being potentially diverted to outside their gates.

He said this would especially pose a danger for children as there will be no pavements.

Gobin said the residents were not consulted over the proposed thoroughfare in their community and only knew of the plans when they enquired from workers attached to the Programme for Upgrading Road Efficiency (PURE ) who were surveying the area near their homes.

He said the residents had suggested an alternative route for the traffic to be diverted behind the University of Trinidad and Tobago (formerly known as the San Fernando Technical Institute).

He said while it will cost more, it will not inconvenience members of the Tarouba community.

Gobin said a petition was signed by over 300 residents, and the document was shown to officials of the Highway Division of the Ministry of Works, the Sugar Industry Labour Welfare Committee, San Fernando Mayor Navi Muradali and the Member of Parliament for the area, Errol McLeod.

He said they are yet to receive responses from any of these officials.

He also said their homes have been damaged by the vibrations of heavy equipment used in works on the link road.

Gobin claimed that the residents have been threatened that members of the Defence Force will move in should they object to the construction works.

Junior Partap said two of his temples and his home were expected to be lost should a permanent road be constructed to give another access route in the area.

He also said his neighbour's temple will be demolished.

Tarouba has one entry and one exit point. The residents believe should this be increased, it will allow criminals to have an easier escape route.

A worker involved in construction work on the link road yesterday told reporters the roads which will be passing through the village will be temporary.

He said the link roads through the village were needed as rehabilitation work was set to begin from UTT to the overpass, taking drivers into Palmyra.

He said with such heavy equipment being used, it will be dangerous to have vehicles in the area, therefore temporary roads will be used for diverting the traffic to the Solomon Hochoy Highway and, also, into San Fernando.

The worker said this work is expected to take six to eight weeks after which the temporary roads in the village will be closed.

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