Officials visit the section of the Point Fortin Highway Extension that collapsed at Mosquito Creek on Wednesday.

[email protected]

Armed security officers have been posted at the Mosquito Creek site following reports of the collapse of 180 metres of paved roadway and the partial collapse of a seaside revetment wall.

Guardian Media has been monitoring developments at the site following the failure of the infrastructure last weekend.

The area was barricaded on Wednesday and security personnel prevented the media from capturing fresh footage. Traffic continued to flow on a two-kilometre stretch of the southbound carriageway which was opened in 2019.

President of the South Oropouche Riverine Flood Action Group Edward Moodie has called on the government to immediately halt construction and instead focus on building proper infrastructure to accommodate the water flow from the nearby marshlands into the sea.

“It has gotten worse. There is a sandbank forming in the Gulf of Paria that is about 50 feet to 75 feet from where the highway is sinking. The pressure of gravel is pushing under and coming out in the softest area. We measured the crack on the walls and it is 30 feet longer than it was yesterday,” Moodie said.

He added, “The entire wall is pulling on both sides. There is grading taking place. Workers are filling gravel into the holes. We need auger piling and we need to brace the walls to hold the weight of the water that is coming in. We are asking the authorities to stop covering it up. Let the citizens know the facts.

Moodie took the media on a tour last September and showed highway debris littering the mangroves. He said one of the rivers which drain the mangrove had come to a dead stop on the highway. The White Bridge River had been narrowed to one foot.

Meanwhile, Oropouche MP Dr Roodal Moonilal called for a Commission of enquiry into the collapse of the highway.

“To my understanding of the elements of construction there is a provision for an insurance to cover incidents of this kind but fundamentally it is taxpayers money that goes down the drain and it will be tax payers money that will have to fix this problem and rehabilitate Package 5A. The Minister must take responsibility and this can only be done independently through a Commission of Enquiry,” Moonilal said.

He added, “They want to cut costs, use cheap materials and do substandard work…This has to do with the decisions of the Rowley government, NIDCO and the contractors.”

Minister of Works Rohan Sinanan told Guardian Media that he is awaiting a report from NIDCO following which he will give a detailed comment. He said the failure zone has not affected commuters noting that designers were doing a “detailed review of geotechnical assumptions to generate a relevant site-specific solution.”