The Government of Solomon Islands and development partners today opened the West Guadalcanal road, boosting connectivity between West Guadalcanal and Honiara.

The Solomon Islands Second Road Improvement Project which is cofinanced by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), AusAID, New Zealand Aid Programme and the European Union is reconnecting local communities to clinics, markets and schools in six provinces in Solomon Islands.

At the opening ceremony at the Poha Bridge on the outskirts of Honiara, Seth Gukuna, Minister of Infrastructure Development together with the Premier of Guadalcanal, Anthony Veke led the ribbon cutting ceremony, which officially opened the bridge to the public. The Minister spoke of his government's strong commitment to improving transport infrastructure in Solomon Islands, particularly in rural areas, in line with the National Transport Plan.

"The new, improved Poha Bridge will provide better passage between West Guadalcanal and Honiara, especially during flooding and other extreme weather events," said Minister Gukuna. "The new bridge provides a lifeline to people in rural villages such as Visale and Lambi, linking them to essential services in Honiara."

"We thank the landowners and community leaders from the area surrounding the Poha Bridge for their cooperation and support during the construction of the bridge," said Premier Veke.

"We would also like to thank the contractors for their support and hard work," Minister Gukuna added.

The Solomon Islands Second Road Improvement Project is providing opportunities for rural communities to earn cash incomes through participating in labour-based road maintenance. Community groups and unemployed youth use simple tools to carry out pothole patching or vegetation clearing.

October 2012 marks the successful completion of the Guadalcanal phase of the project. Some recent milestones of the project include the completion of the Tamboko, Sasa, and Doma bridges and the Selwyn College Causeway.

The project is still underway in Malaita, Western, Central and Isabel provinces and is rehabilitating 100 kilometers of provincial and secondary roads and about 30 bridges and river crossings.