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...Fyzabad interchange to continue

GOVERNMENT'S decision to allow the Joint Consultative Council (JCC) and other civil society organisations to examine its documents related to the Debe to Mon Desir portion of the Point Fortin highway will not stop one of the most costly and socially-disruptive projects along the 9.1-kilometre segment.

Work will continue on the Fyzabad interchange, located at Monteil Trace, where fruit trees and forest have been cleared and excavators have already carved access roads that will form the ramps of the interchange which will link the highway to the town of Fyzabad and south coast villages along SS Erin Road. More than 20 homes will have to be demolished at Monteil Trace and owners compensated and relocated.

At Berridge Trace, five homes are being acquired through private treaty, in which owners submit compensation estimates and the State makes an offer based on its own valuator's figure.

Two months ago, excavators moved onto land at Murray Trace, San Francique, to begin clearing the area for the construction of the Siparia interchange. However, the crew had to abandon the project site and left after residents protested.

The State is yet to use the power of the Land Acquisition Act to move property owners off their land.

Meanwhile, construction will continue on the Golconda to Debe segment of the highway, where some areas are ready for paving. The segment is projected to be completed by May 2013. It is uncertain whether yesterday's deal between the JCC and the State will affect the building of the Debe interchange, which will complete the segment.

The Debe interchange project was stalled for months because of the protest camp set up on the site by the Highway Re-Route Movement and its leader, Dr Wayne Kublalsingh.

Work is also underway along South Trunk Road, where several businesses have received notices of acquisition. Land is being cleared on the approach to Mosquito Creek, which, according to National Infrastructure Development Company Limited (NIDCO) project manager Earl Wilson, will be expanded into a four-lane highway.

Wilson said the project will see some mangrove being cleared and a new sea wall being built to solve the problem of high tide floods. –Richard Charan

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