The Makira phase of the Solomon Islands Road Improvement Project, which reconnected local communities to clinics, markets, schools, and the provincial capital Kirakira has officially been completed.

"This fully functioning road and bridge network will play a vital part in the daily economic and social activities of the people of Makira," said Minister for Infrastructure Development, Seth Gukuna.

"The project provided job opportunities for local communities to earn income through labor-based road maintenance contracts such as pot-hole patching or grass cutting," he added.

The two year project included 67 kilometers of rehabilitated road and 27 new bridges and causeways. As part of the project, two high level bridges were built over the Maepua and Magoha rivers. Prior to their construction, the island's high annual rainfall resulted in frequent flooding which isolated communities and cut off access to essential services and markets. The project was co-financed by the Governments of Australia, New Zealand, Solomon Islands and the Asian Development Bank.

The second phase of Solomon Islands Road Improvement Project continues on Guadalcanal and Malaita, where it will replace or upgrade about 30 water crossings and build 31 kilometers of road. The project is co-financed by the Governments of Australia, New Zealand, European Union, Solomon Islands, and the Asian Development Bank.

An important part of the project has been to strengthen transport links to better withstand extreme weather in the future, a process known as "climate-proofing."

Climate proofing includes designing water crossings to withstand higher-level floods and allow the passage of river debris; stronger bridges to prevent collapse when floods erode embankments; better protection of road approaches; and sealed roads and raised road surfaces where the water table is high.

Source: Press Release, Communications Department, Australian High Commission, Solomon Islands