Friday, 20 March 2009 9:44 AM

Government Seeks Donor Assistance for West Guadalcanal Highway

The effect of the February floods has left the people of West Guadalcanal with an unhappy legacy.

Adding to the sad deaths and loss of property, the raging waters caused damage to parts of the road surface and many bridges, culverts and other drainage structures along the 50 km stretch of the highway between white River and Naro Hill.

The Ministry of Infrastructure Development (MID) has immediately diverted two maintenance contractors to undertake ongoing temporary repairs to keep this road open.

Government and its development partners are aware of the social and economic importance of road access.

Women, from Kohimarama village confirmed the growing economic effects of the road damage.

"Going to the Honiara market to sell my produce is a lot more difficult since the floods," said one woman. "There are fewer trucks and none at all when it rains".

This particular road was only recently rehabilitated with the help of the Asian Development Bank (ADB). Sadly, Government does not have the financial resources to immediately undertake the major works necessary to bring the road and bridges back to their original state.

As a first step, however, Government through MID, has decided to undertake a comprehensive survey of the flood damage to the highway and develop a proposal to its development partners and seek their assistance to completely restore the highway.

Surveyors, river flow specialists, bridge and road engineers and social and economic specialists have already begun field work in the area.

They will visit all sites and consult with affected communities. The result of their work will be put together to prepare a proposal for upgrading, rehabilitation and even building new structures.

The Permanent Secretary for MID, Mr John Ta'aru said "It is important that we repair and rehabilitate these assets as soon as possible. However, climate change and the increasing frequency of extreme weather make its essential that we also design and build in such a way as to help protect them from future destruction."


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