Thursday, 31 March 2016

Evolution of Trinidad's Highways

End of the line of the still yet to be completed San Fernando
/Point Fortin Highway
Photo from B.F
Before there were highways which bypassed small villages, there were the main roads. In Trinidad, they are the Eastern Main Road which runs from Port of Spain to Sangre Grande and the Southern Main which runs from Curepe to Point Fortin. Until the 1940s and 1950s, they were the main thoroughfares in order to access both San Fernando and Port of Spain. As they also run alongside the now abandoned rail line, the towns running along the main roads like Arima, Tunapuna, and San Juan to the North and Cunupia, Chaguanas and Couva to the South were bustling with business and residential areas. In the 1940s, with the American presence on the island due to the war, they started construction of the Churchill Roosevelt Highway from Port of Spain to Wallers Air Force Base in Cumuto with the sole purpose of transporting war equipment without the hustle of the main road. Although a two lane road, the Churchill Roosevelt Highway replaces the Eastern Main Road as the main access route in and out of Port of Spain and in the early 1960s or 1970s the Highway was upgraded to a dual carriageway. In the 1950’s came the construction of the Princess Margret Highway which was constructed from Valsayn to Chaguanas to bypass the towns that the Southern Main Road occupy to save travel time. In the early 1970’s the North-South Highway network was expanded with the construction of the Sir Solomon Hochoy Highway which links the Princess Margret Highway at Chaguanas to Toruba near the city of San Fernando which later was upgraded to a four lane dual carriageway. In the 1980s the Princess Margret Highway was upgraded to a four lane dual carriageway and expanded to Char Fleur and was renamed the Uriah Butler Highway.
In the early 2000’s the Solomon Hochoy Highway was expanded from Toruba to the village of Golconda, in the process of bypassing the city of San Fernando. With the increasing amount of traffic on the highways, in 2008 began the construction of the Churchill Roosevelt/Uriah Butler highway Interchange which replaces the intersection which proved to be a death trap for accidents and to maintain traffic flow. In early 2011 came the construction of the highway extension south from Golconda to the southern areas of Point Fortin and Penal.
Cross Crossing Interchange present day
Photo from B.F.
Churchill-Roosevelt/Uriah Butler Highway Interchange
Photo from B.F.


Looking at the large interchange at Nestle, I can remember about a decade ago coming from Port of Spain there used to be a large intersection that crossed both the Uriah Butler and Churchill Roosevelt Highways. Sometimes it was stressing waiting for the traffic lights to change and the intersection at times proved to be a death trap to the speeding drivers that lose control. However the interchange is a measure put to decrease the traffic gridlocks leaving and coming into the capital.

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