Marlin wants tunnel from Cole Bay to St. Peters

POSTED: 11/8/12 2:42 PM

St. Maarten –   Deputy Prime Minister William Marlin plans to sign off this week on further exploration of the development of tunnels as part of the road network for St. Maarten. Marlin is mulling over the possibility of adding an additional tunnel from the one that he had initially announced and an unnamed engineering company will study its feasibility.

The tunnels will cost money that the government does not have, Marlin said, and so he intends to approach the Central Bank of Curacao and St.Maarten for financing. A toll will then be charged to users.

“If government has problems balancing the budget because of budgetary overruns, we will secure a loan from the Central Bank for it and we will be making use of a toll. It will be no burden on the people in the sense that we have seen with the bridge that you increase the container fees to pay for the bridge,” Marlin said.

He added that there is no definite decision yet. There are still concepts and proposals that will have to be submitted to and approved by the Council of Ministers.

“But in opening up the road network of St. Maarten we will alleviate the traffic in so many areas and rather than carrying out patch work, a piece here and then wait another ten years.”

The first tunnel is supposed to be constructed slightly into the property of Louie Constant Fleming near Port-de-Plaisance entrance up the hill in Cole Bay and then into the hill coming out in St. Peters.

Marlin said that St. Peters was chosen for the tunnel exit because it is government land as opposed to St. John’s which belongs to private developers.

Marlin said that for more than 15 years since the establishment of the comprehensive road network plan all that was carried out were phases 1 and 2 of Link 1 and Link 9 which is the Causeway.

“What about Links 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8. If we do not carry them out you will be making a bridge to nowhere, a tunnel to nowhere, a highway to nowhere because you will just be taking the traffic from one area and dump it in another and create another traffic congestion.”

He believes that the tunnel project will be self-sufficient for the island unlike the Causeway which, he said, resulted in an increase in container fees to pay back for the Causeway and the consequent retail price increases to consumers.

The preparation and design for a tender process to start for Link 2 is also ongoing, Marlin said.

Link 2 will pass through a section of Zagersgut, Mary’s Fancy and then the Caribe Lumber Ball Park near Cost-u-Less.  Marlin also wants to start work on Link 6 which cuts through Weymouth Hill and is projected to land in Dutch Quarter.

Infrastructural development will also reach the Cul-de-Sac cemetery where the Minister of VROMI said that 99 new vaults are currently being constructed.

“We are running out of space and the overall situation in that cemetery is not what it should be.” Part of that project will also see the paving of the entrance road up the hill to reach the new vaults.

Marlin chose not to speak on the development of the cricket stadium and drag racing track, saying that in his central committee meeting with parliament next week, he will answer all questions on the two controversial projects.

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