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No stopping Cross-Country road says Straker

No stopping Cross-Country road says Straker

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Unless an environmental impact assessment study throws up some drastic situations, a cross-country road will be built here.

Deputy Prime Minister Louis Straker highlighted this last Tuesday as he addressed the media at a signing ceremony for the construction of Phase Two of the Cross Country Road Project. {{more}}

That phase covers an area running from the Cool Spot in Byera to Ferguson in the North Central Windward mountain area.

Straker, newly installed Transport, Works, and Housing Minister, David Chang, deputy general manager of Overseas Engineering and Construction Company (OECC) and Project Manager Vincent Lan signed the contract.

Straker, who is also the deputy Prime Minister and parliamentary representative for Central Leeward, expressed optimism that the venture would be completed. He expects work on Phase Two to begin in three months with an estimated construction cost of EC$1.8 million.

He praised Senator Julian Francis who previously occupied the Transport and Works portfolio. He also pledged his government’s commitment to the project, which he described as part of the vision for national development.

The Deputy Prime Minister said that there would be “no turning back” on the much talked about project, despite “criticism and ridicule.”

He therefore outlined potential nationwide advantages of the project in agriculture, tourism and cheaper travel. .

Taiwanese Ambassador Elizabeth Chu, whose country is funding the project, is anticipating that the Cross Country Road will enhance this country’s road network.

Chu, into her second year as her country’s ambassador, wants St. Vincent and the Grenadines to be as competitive as its neighbours are.

She alluded to the destruction Grenada suffered as a result of the passage of Hurricane Ivan in September 2004 and noted that the distribution of supplies and the relief effort were easier owing to Grenada’s “successful road system.”

There has been opposition to the Cross Country Project locally with some accusing the government of undue haste in building the road. But the authorities have countered that the environmental impact study is expected to be complete by 2006, with work on the link road expected to begin early 2007. Construction is slated for 30 months, with an anticipated 2009 completion date.

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